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Monday, 23 January 2012

Plant catalogues and Basque chillies

I have to share something with you that I found quite hysterically funny. But first some background - most of you probably know there are quite a few veggies that are pretty well unknown in France. You can't buy them in the shops or markets and you can't find seed for them either, unless you go for a mail order company such as T&M France, which has a more, shall we say, British variety of veg. But then you may as well use T&M UK or any other seed company which will send to France!

So, there I was perusing a plant catalogue which came with my monthly gardening magazine, and flipping through the pages of pretty perennials until I came to summer annuals.  There, amongst the dahlias and more fancy annuals such as cleome, was...... wait for it......... purple curly kale!!! 5 plug plants for over €7.00 and not a mention of them being winter hardy or even, shock horror - edible! So next time you are wandering through a five star Ville Fleurie, have a closer look at that fancy bedding display in the middle of the roundabout - you never know what you might see!

I think they look pretty good in
the November garden too!

Another catalogue with plug plants has grafted chillies for sale of the variety Gorria - these are the famous Piment d'Espelette, an only very slightly warm chilli which is used liberally in Basque cuisine in place of black pepper; they even have salt and chilli powder on the table rather than salt and pepper! These chillies have an Appelation d'Origine Controlee and are very expensive to buy either whole and dried or in powdered form. I was hoping to find seed for sale when we were staying in Espelette in October but no luck. I guess their AOC makes them a rarity but I've found a site online selling 25 seeds for about the same price as the two plug plants - over €5.00!

You see, all I really want to do is decorate my house Basque style.  I think it might add a bit of warmth to a Breton winter ;-)

Both the photos are taken in Espelette. I may well share some more of my Basque country holiday photos with you on this blog, as I never got around to posting any for my friends to see - well by the time I'd sorted through the hundreds we'd both taken and put them all into a Picasa album and captioned them, there were still 138 in total and I guessed you'd all lose the will to live by then!

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