Aleppo chilli pepper is a local variety, average size, bright red and with a pointed end, traditionally grown in gardens in the northern part of the Syrian city.
Towards the end of summer, families in Aleppo hang their chillies on the windows or terraces to let them dry in the sun. Once dried, they are thinned and rubbed by hand to reduce them into tiny flakes.
Their organoleptic qualities are extraordinary and over time they have crossed frontiers, to the extent that Turkey has been growing the same variety for some time. Aleppo chilli pepper is a very important ingredient in the rich Syrian cuisine. It stands out for its delicate but very fruity cumin notes. It is used in Syrian dishes, but also in other Middle Eastern ones, for example to flavour soups, meat-based dishes, and vegetables.
It is highly prized in the United States, where spice importers, appreciating the difficulty in getting the pepper delivered in wartime, have started selling Aleppo peppers that were grown in Turkey.
Unfortunately, the Aleppo chilli pepper is at risk of disappearing from its land of origin for many complicated reasons: numerous farming families have been forced to leave the countryside, abandoning their fields and properties to escape the violence of the war. Climate change has also played an important role, with serious droughts that are more frequent and prolonged in the past several years.