Food writer John Willoughby writes for the New York Times and loves to hunt down new ingredients. He's found some ground red pepper so flavorful he's sworn off supermarket paprika. John says many of the best peppers come from Syria and Turkey. Check mail-order spice suppliers such as Penzeys Spices at www.penzeys.com or telephone 800-741-7787. Here's some of John's picks:
Aleppo: From northern Syria, the warm, earthy flavor is a cross between cumin and cayenne.
Maras: From northern Syria as well, the dark flakes (not ground powder) are very sweet with a trace of molasses and some heat.
Urfa: These bright red pepper flakes from Turkey have a sweet berry flavor.
Pimenton de la Vera: This pepper from Spain has a smoky flavor with some heat, somewhat like a chipotle but milder.