Piment d'Espelette literally means “pepper of Espelette” in French. It is a food product produced around the town of Espelette in Southern France, also known as Basque Country. This pepper is so famous that it has been given a protected designation by the European Union, ensuring that only peppers grown in the Espelette region may be labeled as “Piment d'Espelette.” This is designed to protect the heritage and integrity of this unique pepper, which is a commonly-used ingredient in Basque food. The Piment d'Espelette is red when mature, and relatively small and mild. Heat-wise, it is usually compared to paprika, another flavorful European pepper product. Piments d'Espelette also have a dark, slightly smoky flavor which can be intensified with roasting or pan-searing, and a robust peppery flavor which can be useful in a wide variety of dishes. These peppers are traditionally used to rub Bayonne ham, a famous export of the region, and they also appear in many other Basque dishes.