14 October 2010

piment d'Esplette var. Northfield

Piment d'Esplette has the same AOC protection that's given to wine, cheese, chickens (Bresse) and other regional or terroir-specific foods, so I don't know what to call this pepper grown in Northfield, MN via seed from a seed saver in British Columbia. The seed originated in Esplette, a small village in the Basque area of southwestern France, but I don't know how long it's been in North America, adapting to new weather and soil.  My three or four plants grew well in the garden, but produced few fruits.  I've saved the seed and will plant more next year, hoping to eke out a plant that likes our short summer and unpredictable fall.  It's a delicious pepper with a little heat and rich, deep taste.


  1. Hey, Patrick: That is so great that you've grown espelette in Northfield. I've looked for seeds online a few times and come up empty. I think I first saw it on a menu in Brittany, flavoring a lobster dish. Then I pricked up my ears, so to speak, every time I saw it mentioned, and since buying a bag of the ground stuff at G.Detou in Paris some years ago, it's been a go-to spice for me. What have you done with your home-grown peppers? I wonder what it's like fresh.

    Re your bounty of leeks, blanching and freezing is a good idea, and I've also had good luck cellaring them. Even without much care (like, stuffed in a drywall bucket, kicked to a corner of the basement) they kept for a good long time, just slowly drying from the outside in. Only a few rotted, and that not until well into the winter.

    When we're packing the car for our Wisconsin cabin I'll often dig a couple of leeks and stick them in a tote in the back of our station wagon. During the drive the car fills with this insanely appetizing, savory scent, so I arrive at the cabin starving hungry!

    Glad to see DF&P back in action.


  2. Brett, I have a sheaf of leeks in an empty beer case in the garage and they're doing well. The esplette peppers are great and I'd be happy to send you some seed if you're interested in growing them. I've been mixing the fresh peppers in all sorts of vegetable medleys and loving them. Even the ones that stayed green have good flavor.