This article was translated by John R. Bopp

The Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun is the second largest newspaper in that country, and a journalistic leader.  They’ve just published a detailed and interesting article in their «Watashi no Ryori» cuisine section about a new condiment that’s gone on sale there, with the name Basque salt, which is based on the Ezpeleta pepper.

Yoshiaki Takei (Photo by Masahiro Gohda)
Yoshiaki Takei (Photo by Masahiro Gohda)

It’s the handiwork of Yoshiaki Takei, the editor of the website Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun, which came about after his visit to the Basque Country and his discovery of the well-developed culture of peppers we have here.  And, we must point out, even in Japan, they understand that our country stretches out on both sides of the Pyrenees.

One of the best expressions of love for peppers that permeates Basque cuisine is, without a doubt, the Ezpeleta pepper.  And that’s what Yoshiaki Takei based his new product on, mixing them with salt, two types of pepper, and parsley.  It’s now on sale in some shops and on Japanese websites.

For us, who really love this pepper and use it all the time in cooking, this news is a source of joy and concern.  The joy is that others recognize the pepper’s worth, and also that new possibilities are opening up for the Basque producers of this treasure.

The concern comes from the fact that this culinary gem has a very limited production, and it seems it may be on its way to being added to the list of quality Basque products that are unaffordable to the Basques themselves thanks to their popularity overseas.

We’ll pray that that doesn’t happen, and in the meantime, we’ll enjoy an omelette with locally-raised organic eggs, Navarrese oil, and a bit of Ezpeleta pepper.

Asahi Shimbun – 4/4/2018 – Japan

Basque Country chili pepper and salt seasoning for any dish

The seasoning is made by blending red chili pepper from the Basque Country with salt and other ingredients and grating until nicely mixed. (Photo by Masahiro Gohda)
The seasoning is made by blending red chili pepper from the Basque Country with salt and other ingredients and grating until nicely mixed. (Photo by Masahiro Gohda)

All kinds of seasonings are a passion of Yoshiaki Takei, editor of the website “Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun,” who enjoys overseas travels that allow him to experience local life through cooking. He visits markets and stores; chats with the proprietors; learns where and how ingredients are grown and how they should be cooked.

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