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Espelette Pepper Harvest & Festival 2024 in France

Visit the town of Espelette and check out the #1 Basque spice called Piment d’Espelette

Dates: October 26-27, 2024

Espelette Pepper Harvest & Festival

Hundreds of years ago, a Basque sailor who accompanied Christopher Columbus in his adventures, came back to his native town, bringing back some dark-red chilli peppers with him. Today, this spice is an integral part of Basque cuisine and the specifit variety grown in this area is named Piment d’Espelette.

When the summer comes to end, people harvest the peppers and hang them up on facades, windows, and balconies of houses to allow them to dry out. The harvest is at its peak for ten weeks between mid-August and late October, but the season continues well into November and until December 1st, when the first frosts come. The houses in Espelette are mostly white. As a result, the entire town turns into a perfect scenery for taking some pictures and videos.

The Espelette Pepper Festival (Fête du Piment) celebrated annually during the last weekend of October confirms the importance of the spice. Traditional music, Basque dances, and sports competitions add motion to this beautiful city facade.

Practical info

What is the time to visit Espelette for the Piment d’Espelette harvest?

The Espelette town is famous for Piment d'Espelette, and the harvest season is from mid-August to late October. The harvest starts in late October and continues until the first frost arrives on December 1st. You can combine your visit with the annual Espelette Pepper Festival celebrated on the last weekend of October. Show more

What is the best shop to buy Piment d'Espelette from Espelette town?

Espelette town has various shops where you can buy Piment d'Espelette. But it is essential to look for the AOC label to ensure that the spice is authentic. La Maison du Piment and l'Atelier du Piment are two famous shops in the town where you can buy freshly harvested Piment d'Espelette. You can also taste the spice in the dishes served in many local restaurants. Show more

Which other cultural festivals are celebrated in Espelette?

Espelette town celebrates various cultural festivals throughout the year. Pottok Day is held in June, which celebrates the Basque ponies. The Basque strength championship takes place in September. In June, The Flower and Honey Festival is organized in town, showcasing the flower creations and honey status. Beltxak and Christmas markets are also popular festivals celebrated in Espelette town. Show more

What are the unique dishes that use Piment d'Espelette in Espelette?

Piment d'Espelette is a vital ingredient in Basque cuisine, and its flavor is used in many traditional dishes such as Axoa, Poulet Basque, and Stuffed peppers. Basque Piperade, made of egg, onion, tomato, and red peppers flavored with Piment d'Espelette, is also popular. You can try the Espelette pepper ice cream and chocolate-coated Piment d'Espelette, which are unique dishes famous in Espelette town. Show more

How to participate in the sports competitions held during the Espelette Pepper Festival?

Espelette Pepper Festival, celebrating the annual harvest of Piment d'Espelette, organizes several sports activities, including pepper tossing, wood cutting, and Basque pelota. However, to participate, you must be a member of a traditional Basque club. But even if you cannot participate, the festival spirit is great, and you can enjoy watching the various teams competing. You can also join the public dance shows in the streets, and the town transforms into a massive party place during the festival. Show more

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