The village of Espelette celebrates chilli the last weekend of October

Espelette
The village of Espele ...

In the Basque Country, there is always a good reason to party. The last weekend of October, the charming little village of Espelette celebrates the end of the harvest of its famous pepper! The opportunity for the locals and for several thousand visitors to share warm moments and savor Basque local products. Focus on the production of Espelette pepper and a festive program in perspective.

In 2023, the Chili Pepper Festival will take place on Saturday October 28 and Sunday October 29, 2023.


Discover the Basque specialities of Gorriak, the combination of the know-how and good taste of 3 highly experienced chefs, who combine their talents to bring you Basque recipes designed and made in Espelette. Available in supermarkets and local shops!

The Espelette pepper festival

Espelette village Basque Country
The village of Espelette


Ah the famous Espelette pepper! This powerful and generous ingredient, undisputed star of Basque cuisine, sublimates local gastronomy on a daily basis and the refined recipes of the greatest chefs around the world.

Every year, the Espelette pepper is in the spotlight on the last weekend of October. This colorful festival is an unmissable gourmet event in the Basque Country. In a picturesque setting, in the heart of the mountains and hills, the facades of traditional red and green half-timbered houses proudly display strings of fresh bunches of red peppers drying in the sun. The village is celebrating, joy and good humor are at the rendezvous!


 It's not easy to find rental accommodation in the Basque Country in Espelette during this period! Take the opportunity to discover the region, its coast, its hinterland... Camping du Col d'Ibardin invites you to Urrugne for a family stay, with entertainment, sporting activities and an ideal location for your stay in the Basque Country. Special preferential “Indian summer” rate for any stay longer than 2 nights!

Boutique Pascal Massonde Espelette

Boutique Pascal Massonde Espelette
Boutique Pascal Massonde Espelette

Butcher – pork butcher – canner since 1938, Pascal Massonde has perpetuated this know-how for 4 generations. Our ...

42 m - Espelette

Pascal Massonde

Pascal Massonde
Pascal Massonde

Butcher – pork butcher – canner since 1938, Pascal Massonde has perpetuated this know-how for 4 generations. Our ...

42 m - Espelette

René Massonde

René Massonde
René Massonde

A butcher-charcutier-canner from father to son for almost 40 years in Espelette, we cherish the production of two ...

65 m - Espelette

Espelette pepper cluster
Bunches of Espelette peppers

A whole program is planned to the rhythm of bandas (street brass bands), concerts of Basque choirs , demonstrations of Basque dances and pelota. A solemn mass with the choir of Espelette is organized to bless the peppers. The ancestral brotherhoods of Espelette pepper parade through the streets of the village in folkloric outfits. The ceremony of induction into the Confrérie du piment d'Espelette and the presentation of the prize for the pepper of the year are highlights of the festival which reward unique know-how.

The Espelette pepper festival is the promise of conviviality and emotions to be shared. Enjoy the market of producers and craftsmen, admire the shows of the "makilaris" who handle traditional sticks with the greatest dexterity. Attend the many street concerts and treat yourself in the restaurants that offer gourmet menus around peppers!


House Espelette
The houses decorated with bunches of peppers
Espelette pepper
A high quality spice, with a delicate aroma, which seasons a majority of dishes in the Basque Country

The production of Espelette pepper

In Espelette and in the nine villages of Labourd (Souraide, Jatxou, Larressore, Itxassou, Ainhoa, Cambo les Bains, Halsou, Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle and Ustaritz) autumn heralds the end of the Espelette pepper harvest. This started in August and will end in December. Among the producers of the famous spice, it's effervescence. After harvesting the plots, the task is heavy. The peppers harvested must meet the precise criteria of the Protected Designation of Origin: holy fruits without necrosis, 100% red, with a regular conical shape and a size varying between 7 and 14cm! These requirements oblige local producers to work within the rules of excellence and respect ancestral know-how.

You must first sort and stalk the chilli by hand and then put it in the oven to ensure complete drying. Chilies dehydrate slowly and develop aromas reminiscent of tomato, pepper, toast and other flavors. After cooking, the chilli is crushed, reduced to powder and packaged in sachets before being granted PDO certification.

In Espelette and the villages growing Espelette pepper, producers are happy to open their farms to visitors. They are happy to share their passion for peppers, from cultivation and hand picking to drying and powdering. A fascinating discovery of an authentic and very much alive tradition which is perpetuated from generation to generation!


Hotel Euzkadi

Hotel Euzkadi
Hotel Euzkadi

This establishment is located in the very heart of the village of Espelette, facing the public square, near the ...

96 m - Espelette

Campsite Biper Gorri

Campsite Biper Gorri
Campsite Biper Gorri

Discover with Camping Paradis Biper Gorri, our 4-star campsite in the Basque Country in Espelette, the pleasures of ...

1,4 km - Espelette

Key West Premium

Key West Premium
Key West Premium

Mobile home rental Key West 4/5 Premium (2 bedrooms / 2 bathrooms), Otello (6 people with 3 bedrooms) and Premium ...

1,4 km - Espelette

chilli fields
Espelette pepper fields
Picking up Espelette pepper
We pick them up by hand
Sorting Espelette peppers
We have to sort them and let them dry
Espelette pepper drying
The peppers are found on shelves for a final drying in the oven
Dry Espelette pepper

PDO Espelette Pepper

Originally from Mexico, the Espelette pepper of the "Gorria" variety was imported into the Basque Country in the 16th century. He arrived in the village of Espelette in 1650.

Since then, it has been cultivated on sloping and sunny plots, in the heart of a privileged natural environment, in the hollow of the hills and ridges which form a vast circus. A very specific area, benefiting from a microclimate, meets the criteria of the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée around Espelette, bounded to the north by a succession of ridges, to the west by the Nivelle valley, to the south and east by the peaks between Mount Ursuya and Mount Ereby.

Espelette pepper is the one and only certified French spice. Since 2000 and thanks to the initiatives of the producers, the AOC and the AOP guarantee to the consumers the exceptional character of the product, its taste qualities and its origin. This recognition is valid at national and European level. To obtain the approval valid for 5 years, the producers submit samples of peppers which undergo controls according to the very strict criteria of the specifications of the AOP Piment d'Espelette. A local product that is the great pride of producers and that delights the taste buds of visitors all year round!


POTTOKA - Sabine Aguerre

POTTOKA - Sabine Aguerre
POTTOKA - Sabine Aguerre

Welcome to Pottoka, this bistonomic restaurant is located in the pretty village of Espelette, known as much for its ...

84 m - Espelette

Etchehandia

Etchehandia
Etchehandia

Located in the heart of Espelette, a small emblematic village of the Basque Country, Etchehandia offers in its ...

96 m - Espelette

Restaurant Euzkadi

Restaurant Euzkadi
Restaurant Euzkadi

This establishment is located in the very heart of the village of Espelette, facing the public square, near the ...

97 m - Espelette

Chilli at different times of drying
Espelette pepper



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Photos and Article written by Lesley Williamson for the Basque Country Guide


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