From Terroir Seeds: “The treasured chile of the Basque country, known for its robust and slightly smoky flavor. Some chiles are given treasured status, where they are celebrated in art, the kitchen, and festivals. The Espelette Pepper has become a cultural and culinary icon in the Basque country where it has gained controlled-name status. This is a land-race variety that was introduced into the Nive Valley by Gonzalo Percaztegi in 1523, and grown in the Basque region and especially the village of Espelette ever since. [The appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) is the French certification granted to certain French geographical indications for wines, cheeses, butters, and other agricultural products] Plant is from 2 – 5′ tall, has good yields of more aromatic and sweeter than hot peppers maturing from green to a deep red, usually from 15 – 30 per plant. To be known as “Piment d’Espelette”, the chile must be grown, harvested and dried according to specific cultural traditions in the area around Espelette. Our original seed stock came from the Espelette region, and is grown by one of our experienced, professional growers in the western US. For the truest flavor, allow the fruit to fully mature on the vine, almost starting to dry before harvesting it. Lay the pods on a cookie sheet where they have good air flow and let them slowly dry over a few weeks until they are brittle before de-seeding and grinding into a powder. Use in dishes where the aroma and flavor can be appreciated.” 75 days. Photo of dried peppers is from Wikipedia; photo of on-the-vine peppers is from Terroir Seeds.
Care: Plant 18-24″ apart in rows 24-30″ apart in full sun. Keep soil uniformly moist (but not waterlogged) for best production.