September 2013

The South Devon Chilli Farm grows over 10,000 chilli plants each year and harvest tonnes of fresh chillies. Most of which are used in their own range of chilli sauces, preserves and chilli chocolate. The farm have kindly supplied a bottle of their Single-Variety Chilli Sauce – Serrano

The Mexican Serrano pepper comes in slightly hotter than the Jalapeno and originates in the mountainous regions of the Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo. The name of the pepper is a reference to the mountains (sierras) of these regions and is used extensively in Mexican cooking.

I would refer to the South Devon Chilli Farm labels as very colourful and friendly. Their range has the same theme with different colours for each sauce. This label gives a heat rating of 5/10 (3,000-4,000 Scoville Heat Units) and suggests adding a splash of the sauce on any snack.

Ingredients:

60% fresh Serrano Chillies, Cider Vinegar, Fresh Lemon Juice, Salt.

Bottle kindly supplied by South Devon Chilli Farm

Once the colourful bottle is opened the first sensation is freshness. Even though the ingredients are pickled they almost feel fresh.

The taste is basic and slightly acidic, it’s not a Serrano puree but it is basically liquid Serrano and instant chilli in a bottle so you get a nice low heat with a pure Serrano taste. Due to the low heat levels of the Serrano pepper a seasoned heat seeker would probably steer clear of this sauce. However for those new to chilli this is a lovely step up to add into those fajita dinner kits if you are exploring Mexican food. If you like jalapeno, you will enjoy Serrano and this sauce.

I would use as they suggest, on anything you want really, though from past use of this sauce I found covering chicken wings adds a most pleasing zing.

A 100ml bottle will set you back a rather precise £3.57 each. Though you can purchase 6 bottle sets for a discount direct from the farm.

More information can be found on the South Devon Chilli Farm’s Website

Flavour
(6/10)
Heat
(4/10)
Packaging
(7/10)
Value (6/10)
Overall
(6/10)

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Being from the South (well, many places, but south mainly), I have a soft spot for those who farm, and source locally. South Devon Chilli Farm are located near Kingsbridge, in the South West of the UK and produce many Chilli products including, in this instance, the now very popular Cold Pressed Rapeseed Chilli Oil.

What can you say about this product? Well, in a massive 250ml bottle with a very vibrant bright green and red label, you sure can’t miss it. The beautiful yellow oil tinged lightly with reds from the dried chillies and chilli flakes used for infusion. The bottle says that this variety of oil is cold pressed for them by the Seed co in Dorset, then South Devon do all the magic!

Ingredients: 

Rapeseed oil 99%, Dried Chillies 1%.

Bottle kindly supplied by South Devon Chilli Farm

This oil has no distinctive scent, just the aroma of a good quality rapeseed oil. The taste, however, is a unique flavour I’ve not tasted in a rapeseed oil before. It has a relatively dry flavour with a very strong hint of nuts. The heat is mild, but noticable in the back of the throat, a bit like a smokey product would have.

This oil goes down very well as a dipping oil. I would add a touch of rock salt and a little dried basil to dip warmed ciabatta into as a starter for an italian main. Alternatively on a salad, drizzled over your favourite feta or as a replacement for your frying oil, for a nuttier taste with a little kick to it.

Direct from the SDCF website at £4.72 for this huge bottle of fine quality rapeseed oil with a great chilli kick, I think you get a great deal.

Flavour
(9/10)
Heat
(4/10)
Packaging
(9/10)
Value (9/10)
Overall
(9/10)

 

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Now in it’s 3rd year the Great Dorset Chilli Festival has certainly warranted it’s ‘Great’ prefix. Over the weekend of the 3rd & 4th of August saw over 10,000 visitors come flooding through the gate to sample some of the very best Chilli products the UK has to offer, from the usual chilli sauces, plants to chilli chocolate and even battered Jalapenos, there was no shortage of ways to spend your money.

Set within the grounds of St Giles House, in Wimborne St Giles this event has a stunning setting, you couldn’t ask for a better backdrop.

I was only able to attend this years event on the Sunday and what a day it was! People started to queue at the ticket gates before the event opened and then they flooded in, and kept coming. This is something quite unprecedented for a festival which is situated with no passing traffic. The effort put into the advertising and promotion had really worked.

This event really did have a bit of everything, with a demonstration tent packed for Chilli talks and demonstrations. Visitors could enjoy the dishes prepared by local chefs Mark Hartstone of La Fosse Restaurant in Cranborne, Mat Follas of The Wild Garlic Restaurant in Iwerne Minster, Luke Stuart of White Pepper Cookery School, Julia Cotton of Julia’s Kitchen Cookery School.

Matt Simpson of Simpson’s Seeds entertained visitors with his knowledge of Chilli folklore and Joy Michaud of Sea Spring Seeds in West Bexington spoke about the famous Dorset Naga Chilli, which was once crowned the World’s Hottest Chilli. Joy also displayed over 30 varieties of prime specimen chilli plants which were recently exhibited at Hampton Court Flower Show where she won a Bronze Flora award.

The food catering was spot on with something for everyone, including the aforementioned battered Jalapenos, and Chilli burgers and bangers cooked by Cliff and Hayley aka The Devon ChilliMan on their first outing in the new ‘Chillified’ trailer.

In addition to the Chilli talks, the UK Chilli Cook-Off Association were there on the Sunday with 6 teams of amateur chefs all trying to cook the best Chilli they could in the allotted 4 hours. Spoons were sold to visitors who could then go and sample each of the teams Chillies, with all money raised going to the charity CLIC Sargent Childrens Cancer Charity.

I was lucky enough to be on the Judging panel and the eventual winning team ‘Silly with Chilli’ won themselves £250 and a place in the grand final at Fiery Foods in Brighton in September where the eventual winner will go to Las  Vegas to represent the UK and be in with a chance of winning £25,000.

There was also a Chilli Condiment Competition which the vendors could enter their products into, which the public could taste blind and vote on during each day, the results were as follows:

Chilli Sauce:

Mild – Saucy Sauce No4 from Simpsons Seeds

Medium – Sweet Chilli Sauce with Garlic from

The Isle of Wight Garlic Farm

Hot – Red Mosquito from The Upton Cheyney Chilli Company

Chilli Jam:

Garlic Jam with Red Chilli from The Isle of Wight Garlic Farm

Chilli Chutney & Relish:

Chilli Pickle from Sushil’s Chutney & Pickle

In addition to this there was a Chilli Plant competition sponsored by Simpsons Seeds. Class One was for a specific variety, the Nu Mex Twilight which was won by Tim Rumball and Class Two was open to any variety which was won by Kris Collins.

And what better way to finish off each day of a Chilli Festival, than with the inaugural Chilli Eating Competition, run by The Clifton Chilli Club and compared by our very own Darth Naga. This drew in a huge crowd each afternoon to watch the contestants eat their way through 10 rounds of increasingly hot chillies! The winners were James Harrold (Saturday) and Jake Shergold (Sunday)

And for those who want to see the Clifton Chilli Club videos of the Chilli Competition eating each day, see below;
The Saturday Competition:

The Sunday Competition:

As a regular Chilli Festival attendee I have to say that Miles and the team have this event just right, it has evolved over the last three years into a very popular and successful event and I look forward to next year.

Here is Miles take on the Festival.

“As a dedicated chilli festival with 75 different stands, there’s a limit to how big the event can become
before we become just another food festival, which is not our intention. Blessed with good weather,
we had an unprecedented number of visitors and regrettably queues for the car park built up on
Sunday. But the response to the festival was fantastic, with the main comment being about the
friendly and relaxed atmosphere. “

Miles Halton, Festival Director.

So there you have it, if you are in any doubt about attending this event next year then don’t be, just come along.

 

 

 

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