Challock Chilli Festival is a small local chilli festival which takes place annually at Victoriana Nursery Gardens in the Kent village of Challock. The nursery grows over 100 different varieties of chilli from mild varieties to the Carolina Reaper. The festival had the usual food stalls you expect from a chilli festival, alongside a number of craft stalls. However, what drew me to the festival was the opportunity to look at all the different chillies they had growing in their poly tunnels and the opportunity to try them.
The number of different varieties they grow is incredible and for a £1 charitable donation we were able to try as many fresh chillies as we wanted. I literally had to pinch myself to check I wasn’t dreaming.
Naturally they had many different varieties of Jalapeños, Habaneros, Cayenne etc. but also had many rare chillies that, not only had I never heard of, but had never had the opportunity to try. This include Holy Mole (a Mexican chilli), Purple Tiger and Tokyo Hot to name but a few. We tried quite a few different chilli’s including some I’d like to grow next year.
We also brought some fresh Pakora’s made using Aji Lemon chillies for lunch which were simply delicious.
There were a number of craft stalls which all appeared to have at least one chilli related product including chilli fridge magnets, chilli glassware, chilli tea towels and chilli balloons, and for those with a competitive streak, a chilli tossing competition.
I’d never heard of Victoriana Nursery Gardens before and I was really impressed by the sheer number of chilli plants they grew. They sell seed for many of the plants they grow and sell seedlings in the Spring. As a very local business, I will certainly be looking to support them by purchasing some seeds for next years grow.
Whilst only a small chilli festival the focus on the actual fresh chillies made this a unique experience and I look forward to attending next years festival to tick a few more chilli varieties off my list.