Datil Pepper - Gastro Obscura

Ingredients & Condiments

Datil Pepper

Minorcans spiced up the food scene in St. Augustine with this fiery crop.

Situated on the northeastern coast of Florida, St. Augustine boasts sandy beaches, Spanish colonial architecture, and a beloved, hyperlocal pepper. Since the 1800s, Northern Floridian cooks have relied on the Datil (pronounced “that’ll”) pepper for its habanero-like heat and bright, fruity flavor. 

Thanks to finicky growing requirements, the pepper’s availability is limited to greater St. Augustine. The nearly four-inch fruit, a variety of Capsicum chinense, may trace back to the slave trade or the arrival of settlers from the Spanish island of Minorca. The Datil took root in the Minorcan community and has become synonymous with St. Augustine’s food culture ever since. Restaurants across town keep bottles of hot sauces or infused vinegars on the table, and area farmers and artisans sell Datil-based jellies, sauces, and mustards at farmer’s markets and specialty food stores. Many families who trace their heritage to Minorca still grow the crop in their home gardens, incorporating it into hot sauces and St. Augustine’s legendary Minorcan clam chowder.

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