You see it on menus all of the time. But did you ever wonder what exactly is Espelette Pepper? It's a special chili powder, from the Basque region of France, prized by professional chefs. It has a lovely, light, orange-red hue and a mild chili kick acceptable to French palates. It often replaces pepper in the Basque braised vegetable dish known as Piperade or in Poulet Basquaise. Espelette Pepper adds a unique spicy kick to fried eggs or home-fries and is excellent in vinaigrettes with sherry vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
The appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) "controlled designation of origin") is French certification granted to certain French geographical indications for wines, cheeses, butters, and other agricultural products, all under the auspices of the government bureau Institut national des appellations d'origine, now called Institut national de l'origine et de la qualité (INAO). It is based on the concept of terroir and a form of geographic protectionism.