Since we are in Mexico, I thought it only proper that I dedicate at least one blog post to the venerable chili pepper. Here in Mexico you often hear the refrain "si no pica, no es comida," which roughly translates to "if it's not spicy, it's not food." Suffice it to say that folks here absolutely love their peppers! Chilis are considered "traditional" ingredients in Chinese, Thai, Indian, Korean, and many European cuisines, but in reality all forms of chili peppers originated in this part of the world. Columbus brought them back to Spain five centuries ago, from there they were the disseminated throughout the world and integrated into local tastes.
Today there are literally hundreds of types of chilis grown in a vast array of size, shapes, colors, flavors and levels of spiciness. The Chili Pepper Institute provides some fascinating facts and trivia if you want to learn more. You may also want to check out the Hot Sauce Blog and the PepperFool.
We visited an herb and spice shop called La Abejita (the little bee) in the small town of Buceries, which stocks a rich mosaic of dried chilis. Here's a short slide show of some of their selection: