Espelette is a typical Basque Country village, with historic streets and houses adorned with red and green shutters. In the 11th century, the lords of Ezpeleta were amongst the most powerful barons of Navarre. The Basques were hardened sailors, and in 1650, a Basque navigator sailing with Christopher Columbus brought chili peppers to the Basque Country. It has been part of daily life ever since. The first flowers open in June, and the fruits appear three weeks later. The peppers are harvested in mid-August, then hung along houses to dry.

Espelette pepper, with AOC and AOP qualifications, is grown in 10 towns: Ainhoa, Cambo-les-Bains, Espelette, Halsou, Jatxou, Itxassou, Larressore, Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle, Souraïde, and Ustaritz. Every year in the autumn (the last weekend of October), Espelette celebrates its pepper.

During the festival, you can purchase peppers and other regional products, of course, and you can go to Basque dancing shows, traditional music concerts, a mass, banda parades, pelota games, and more. Naturally, the eating is delightful, with numerous small restaurants that will pique your curiosity and thrill your palate.