Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Espelette

I've been intrigued with Espelette pepper ever since I moved to France. I've found it for sale at my local grocery store, but at over 6 euros for a tiny jar, I've hesitated to buy it. So, I decided that one stop on our exploration of the Pays Basque would be the little village of Espelette where the peppers come from. As you can see from the strings of peppers hanging on this hotel facade, the beautiful red peppers are big business here. I bought a jar of pepper flakes, one of pepper jelly, and another of hot pepper paste. I especially love the jelly....it has a smoky-sweet pepper taste with enough heat to make it interesting. And yes, the pepper was cheaper here at its source!

Unfortunately, it began to rain while we were visiting the village shops making us cut our explorations short. But not before I visited the music shop. A CD of the lovely Basque music was playing as I entered. I asked the proprietor if he could recommend a CD of typical Basque music as I frequently buy music as a souvenir of my tourist travels. He actually offered two, and I bought them both! One is by a group of local musicians; the other is a compilation of traditional Basque songs by various famous Basque singers. I loved talking with store's owner who shared that he speaks 5 different languages: French, English, Spanish, Basque and Portuguese. Which put me totally to shame. Why is it that most Americans are lucky if they can speak good English, much less another language??

Interested in what Basque music sounds like? I'll be posting a YouTube video of one of my favorite songs next time.

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