Whether you stumbled across Piment d'Ville, was given a jar as a gift, or read about us online, I understand if you have some questions about how to use our Basque chile powder. I'm here to help guide you in making the most out of your Piment d'Ville in the kitchen!
Piment d'Ville is grown from the seeds of Espelette peppers, the backbone of Basque cuisine in Southern France/Northern Spain. There, it's known as Piment d'Espelette, but since we are growing the chiles in Boonville, CA we call our version Piment d'Ville.
TLDR; PdV is a great substitute for chile powder - use your Piment everywhere you use salt and don't be scared to experiment with it. Keep it out of direct sunlight and use it up!
First, it's important to know that I don't want you to think of Piment d'Ville as a precious product to keep in your spice drawer and only pull out on special occasions. This is a spice to use on just about everything (more on that later). We're not here to be the thing that you hold onto forever because you're unsure how to use it or because someone special gave it to you and you don't want it to run out. We're here to be your everyday spice and think that with a bit of guidance and experimentation, you'll feel the same.
Second, Piment d'Ville is harvest dated so that you can remember how long your chile has been around for. The harvest year on the jar's sticker corresponds to which fall the chiles in the jar were harvested, dried, and ground in. A jar dated "Harvest 2018" is made of chiles harvested from August to October in 2018. That chile was sealed in vacuum sealed packages and kept in a dark, temperature and humidity controlled room until more jars needed to be filled. We keep it as fresh as possible on our end so that the product you have in your hand is as well preserved as possible. I recommend using your Piment d'Ville within 20 months of the harvest date (i.e. all 2018 products should be used by June 2020), but if you're having trouble using an ounce of our chile powder in a year and a half then let's talk! Maybe you just need some inspiration. Also, in order to preserve the freshness, taste, and color of your Piment d'Ville, we recommend keeping it out of direct sunlight or heat in your kitchen.
Ok! Onto the good stuff.
When I learned how to cook at The Boonville Hotel, recipes were passed on by taking some time during prep to talk through what we would be making, generally what went into it, and how to find the right balance in flavor. We used Piment d'Espelette, along with salt and black pepper, on basically everything and through that, I learned about its versatility. We didn't have written recipes and learned how to get the right end product by trying different things. I turned into the kind of chef who struggles to follow directions in a cook book as well as someone who gets incredibly stressed if I'm trying to bake something because I get so nervous I'm going to read the recipe wrong and ruin something. It also gave me the confidence in understanding flavors to be able to put things together without a recipe and come out with a pretty tasty meal.
So, here is where I ask you to take a deep breath of confidence and get ready to experiment with Piment d'Ville even if the recipe you are using doesn't call for it, if you even just think it might go well in what you are making, and in different amounts to understand the flavor. YOU CAN DO IT! And here's how...
Roasting vegetables? Use it!
Frying eggs? Sprinkle some on before you flip them in the pan.
Roasting a chicken? Rub the skin with salt and Piment very liberally before putting it in the oven.
Recipe calls for paprika? Use some Piment instead.
Recipe calls for Smoked Paprika? Use our Smoky Piment!
Making popcorn? Do not forget the Piment d'Ville.
Sautéing onions? Add the Piment d'Ville.
Avocado toast? Piment d'Ville!
The meal you made taste a little flat and boring? Piment d'Ville!
While Piment d'Ville is made from chile peppers, it doesn't give the same characteristic fiery heat that chile peppers do. It's much more like black pepper. One thing I find really incredible about Piment is that the flavor of it is great when it is used while food is cooking and as a finishing spice. If you use it to season things while they are cooking, the Piment adds a real richness and depth to the meal. Its like the bass note in cooking that you didn't realize was missing. And when you use it as a finishing spice, it adds more of that black pepper flavor to the food.
I truly hope you enjoy our Piment d'Ville and look forward to seeing what you do with it. Tag us on instagram (@boonvillebarn) to show us how you're using it! If you've got a great recipe or new ideas on how to use it, or are looking for some inspiration, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're so glad you're part of the Piment d'Ville family.
Founder - Piment d'Ville/Boonville Barn