Spice up your bar cart with chile powder from New Mexico's famous peppers—recipes included!
Would you like some heat with that ice-cold drink? Chile peppers are as ingrained in New Mexico's food culture as fresh pasta is in Rome's. Fact: "Red or green?" is the official state question, in reference to when a waiter asks what sauce you'd like on your enchiladas—or chilaquiles, or breakfast burritos... You get the idea. (Answer "Christmas" if you want both.)
New Mexico's chiles are mostly grown and harvested in southern New Mexico, in and around the village of Hatch, a.k.a. The Chile Capital of the World. The early fall months are the only time you can get the chiles fresh, so locals buy them by the pound, roast them, and freeze them to cook with throughout the year. Fun trivia: Green chile peppers are simply unripened versions of red chile peppers.
New Mexico is so serious about its chiles that there's even a Chile Pepper Institute in Las Cruces, New Mexico, which promotes chile pepper research and education. You can visit the teaching garden, where more than 150 varieties of chiles are grown, June through October for free.
Santa Fe hotel and restaurant La Fonda on the Plaza is paying homage to the beloved pepper with its new chile drink menu—and you can make them at home! Local boutique The Chili Shop sells red chile powder by the bag in mild, medium, medium hot, and extra hot both in store and online (from $5.75). Click "add to cart" and get ready to feel the burn.