What is it about Hatch chiles, wonders rworange, that “puts people in a mild panic” when the last bag is opened? Hatch chiles are a variety of chile pepper harvested around the town of Hatch, New Mexico. They’re usually served roasted and are much loved for sure, but are they genuinely addictive? “People get headaches when the last peppers are used … Hatch withdrawal,” claims rworange.
Some might write off the appeal as New Mexican nostalgia—memories of late-summer air filled with the aroma of roasting peppers—but rworange doesn’t think so. “I’ve been to New Mexico twice in my life, both times on the freeway and not during pepper season,” she says. “My roots are in New England and yet this weekend I plan to buy a 25-pound box.” (Luckily, roasted peppers freeze well, so you can buy enough to last you for the whole year during the short Hatch pepper season.)
rworange says it wasn’t love at first taste, but “over time I found myself more enchanted, leading to a passion for the pepper.” There’s something about them that is difficult to describe, an added earthy complexity, she says. “Maybe it’s just like a person who oozes charisma and draws others to them but you can’t really say why that is. They stand out from the crowd and somehow sparkle.”