Espelette pepper is a mild chilli unique to the Basque town of Espelette in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in southwestern France. It's traditionally used in the curing of Bayonne hams, but espelette pepper is perhaps best known as an ingredient in piperade. Piperade is a vegetable stew made with green peppers, onions and tomatoes spiced with espelette. The ingredients reflect the colours of the Basque flag.
The variety of chilli now known as espelette was first introduced to the area in the 1500s from Mexico. Over time the Basque people made it their own, and in 2000 it was awarded Protected Designation of Origin status (PDO). Espelette pepper is now intrinsically linked to the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department, and features as a seasoning in many regional specialities. Its fruity warmth is added to traditional Basque confit dishes, pates, soups and stews. Use espelette pepper in your cooking to add an instant taste of the Basque region.