The Espelette pepper (French: Piment d’Espelette) is a variety of chili pepper cultivated in the French commune of Espelette, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, traditionally the northern territory of the Basque people. On 1 June 2000, it was classified as an AOC product.
The peppers are grown in carefully controlled plots with no watering. As a quality guideline, the ripe peppers are gathered by hand and sorting is done within 48 hours. The peppers are then stringed and matured in open air for a minimum of 15 days, followed by baking. The Espelette powder produced from each farm is unique.
The seeding and breeding of plants is done in early March in a greenhouse and planting takes place in the Nive Valley in early May. With the first heat of summer arriving, flowers and small peppers reach 7 to 14 cm and turn from green to bright red, ready for harvest in months of August to late November.
The Espelette pepper contains the vitamins B1, B2, C and magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and potassium.