Hot peppers give life to flavours, and during these last thirty years I selected a lot of them. Their uses are multiple in cooking, including desserts. They are sweet like a fruit or burn like a steel blade that went through fire; they awaken, excite and can make you frenzied.

Hot pepper is the fruit of the capsicum, small tree of the solanaceae family that counts two main species: capsicum annuum, sweet pepper, often called bell pepper, mainly cultivated in temperate regions: Hungary (paprika), Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. Capsicum frutescens, strong pepper from the hot regions where a hundred of different varieties grow, different by their shape, their volume, their colour and the power of their taste. The most famous are the pilipili from Africa, Cayenne pepper, chilli, zozio, zindien, chilipiquin, lampion peppers, the cherrypepper, bonda ma Jacques pepper… All these varieties are enduring, one meter high whose fruits are small, oblong, pointy and of a shiny red. A hot pepper’s strength is proportional to its level of capsaïcine, a crystalline substance, found in the plant. The strength of the hot pepper can be measured on the Scoville scale, ranging from 1 to 10. Invented by the pharmacist Wilbur Scoville to measure the strength of hot peppers linked to the level of capsaïcine, this scale should not lead to the idea that the only difference between peppers is the heat intensity. The fragrances, notes, smells, tastes and aromas are numerous and should be played with.

From the De Arbol and Chilipiquin to the ordinary red bell pepper, there are a hundred of hot peppers in the world. They have been consumed for thousands of years in Mexico and South America by the Mayas, the Aztecs and the Incas. Christopher Colombus discovered them and brought them back to Spain in 1493. This beautiful long red fruits, often called the garden’s coral, are first cultivated for their decorative interests. They spread to Greece, Turkey and Hungary. In the 16th century, the Portuguese sailors bring them to India, from where they continue their journey towards South-East Asia and China.