Scott Roberts — Chilli Letter from America #4

by Scott Roberts on March 21, 2010 · 0 comments

in General Information

Scott Roberts

Scott Roberts

March in the U.S. marks the completion of the 22nd Annual National Fiery Foods and BBQ Show in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the beginning of the growing season for chile peppers across a large section of the middle of North America.

Nurseries with a strong online presence such as Cross Country Nurseries and Pepper Joes are experiencing brisk sales as gardeners and chile lovers alike are ordering vast quantities of seeds. As expected, the number one seller at most outlets is the naga/bhut jolokia.

The Fiery Foods Show, the largest trade show of its kind in the world, had its largest attendance in history. According to show producer Dave DeWitt, over 15,000 people converged on the event over the three-day weekend of March 5 – 7. I was there everyday and overall I had a fun time seeing nearly 200 vendors, sampling the wares, snapping photographs and generally trying to report on what happened. I saw many old friends and met a lot of great new folks from every segment of the industry. Among them was the charming Rose Seymour, daughter of the UK’s own ChilliPepperPete, who gave me a one of CPP sauces to try – Dragon’s Blood. At home I have in my possession well over 100 spicy products to review, and it will take me a number of months to go through them all, but nonetheless I have moved the ChilliPepper Pete sauces near the top of my list as I am dying to see what they taste like!

Scott is the one with the hat on!

Scott is the one with the hat on!

What was the overall assessment from the show regarding products?

There was very little new when it came to hot sauces, other than a few debuting bhut jolokia products in the form of liquids and dry seasonings. What I noticed trend-wise was the enormous volume of spicy sweets and snacks. Everything from chile-infused chocolates and caramel popcorn to peanut brittle and jerky were for sale, and most were delicious!

One of the highlights of my weekend at the Fiery Foods Show was my interview with Mike Greening of Mike and Diane’s Gourmet Kitchen, makers of the popular Ring of Fire and Mad Anthony hot sauces. You can view my three-part talk with him here (I apologize in advance for the less-than-perfect sound quality):

Video Clips Part 1,  Part 2Part 3.

One interesting occurrence during the show was me being hypnotized not to feel the burn from hot sauces. Yes, you read that right. I was put under hypnosis on Friday night, and tested a few ultra-hot extracts during the second day of the show Saturday morning. The results? My body still reacted with watery eyes, increased saliva and a numb tongue, but the burning sensation was buried WAY down. I’m still not convinced 100% that this works, but I think there might be potential here, and I would like to see further testing done with other test subjects and other sauces & chiles used.

You can view videos chronicling the hypnosis by clicking here

And speaking of videos and ILoveItSpicy.com, the brand new website started by several well-known American chileheads, has gotten off to a rousing start by showing videos from the (pay close attention to the names to avoid confusion) smaller North Market Fiery Foods Festival in Columbus, Ohio and the forementioned, larger Fiery Foods and BBQ Show in Albuquerque.

Earlier this month I reviewed a pair of chile pepper iPhone apps – the South Devon Chilli Farm and Scoville. They both provide in-depth knowledge on-the-go without having to rely on a 3G phone connection, as all of their data is stored on the phone.

I gave away a large hot sauce gift pack this past month to coincide with the FFS. A respectable amount of people (51) entered the contest during the 2-day window it was open. I had my son help me with the drawing.

Lastly, I did have time to review some products since last month – California Habanero Blends Ginger Garlic Habanero Sweet Mild Heat Hot Sauce , Heartbreaking Dawns Classic Gold, Mango Habanero and Jalapeno Pineapple Sauces , Race City Sauce Works 98 Octane Ghost Pepper Reserve and The Green Fairy Absinthe Inferno Sauce , Zulu Zulu Peri Peri Garlic Chile Pepper Sauce and Big Orson’s four variations of Citizen Cajun Mango Habanero Salsas.

Talk to you all next month!
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