My little sister recently returned home after a year working and living in Paris. “Would you like me to bring you anything back?” she asked, “Just bear in mind, I have 20kg total baggage allowance and will be travelling wearing three coats, a dress, a skirt and a pair of jeans…”
Pimente d’espelette is a new spice to me. I’d read about it in a magazine write-up of Hélène Darroze’s work. She loves it so much, she named the restaurant at The Connaught after it. But, the article cautioned, you won’t be able to buy it in the UK.
Bless my sister, despite the dire situation regarding baggage allowances, look what she brought me for my birthday!
Not one, but two precious jars of piment d’espelette. The scent is paprika-ish, with a chilli undercurrent, and a whiff of something completely new and different to me. So far I’ve successfully trialled it in egg mayo with spring onions, and put a shake in my shakshuka (try saying that after a couple of gins) but according to this page there’s a whole host of other ways to use it.
I’d love to visit the Connaught and see how Hélène Darroze uses it, but in the meantime, I might just mix up some 24hr no-knead bread, blend half a teaspoon or so into some good butter, and indulge myself.