General Information

This August why not take a drip to sunny Dorset and how about visiting Sea Spring Seeds, the home of the Dorset Naga, and take a look at their nursery, talk to them about their seed trails.

Sea Spring Seeds

Michael and Joy Michaud are some of the most knowledgeable growers of chillies you will find, they are also happy to help answer any question you may have (I have asked a lot). They also have a great selection of seeds you can buy ready for next year or why not a few plants already covered with chillies.

The Drop-in days are every Wednesday in August 2015 (5th, 12th, 19th and 26th) between 10:30am and 9:00pm so set your GPS for DT2 9DD (Sea Spring Seeds, West Bexington, Dorchester, Dorset. DT2 9DD. Phone 01308 897898 email or

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Chilli Fiesta 2015This year was the 20th anniversary West Dean Chilli Fiesta, I had my first stall at the 18th, and but for a very few have been to most of them since then, we have not had a stall for a few years. I think our thanks must go to Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain who co-founded the Chilli Fiesta and without whom we would not have such the thriving UK chilli market.

The event this year was again over 3 days, we visited on what was one very hot and busy day, the event has grown and now with more campers and a extended nights entertainment with the main stage being open till 9pm and then thins move to the Cabaret Tent till 11pm. The Sunday is a little shorter with the main stage closing at 7:30pm and the Cabaret tent finishing at 9pm. The produce stalls all close at 6pm expect for the food stall around the main stage area

Display Chillies at West Dean 2015There is lots to see during the day with live music on the main stage starting at noon, as well can lots of cookery demonstrations and gardening chat sessions, if you are unlucky enough to do to the glass houses you can still see some pages from my book, The Hot Book of Chillies, being used as part of the display.. it is getting a bit old now, but hopefully they will use some of the new books pages next year..

With nearly 180 stalls, not all selling chilli products this event is the biggest in the UK, you can see around 250 different varieties of chillies.

We had a great day out visiting all our old friends and seeing some new additions to the event including. Mushemi Fire, Thousand Hills, TTaste, East Coast Chilli Company and Barfoots Sorry if we have missed out any other new arrivals.

We cannot recommend this event more highly, make sure it is on your list for next year.


Get your metabolism all fired up – eat chilies

Most developed countries across the world share one common health challenge – obesity. With the number of people who are overweight or clinically obese steadily rising many governments are helping their citizens address this problem. In the United States for instance, the National Institute of Health, an off-shoot of central government, has recently launched a new online calculator tool designed to support people on weight loss programs. Metabolic RateBelieved to be one of the most scientifically accurate devices so far, it will no doubt prove extremely beneficial to those committed to losing weight in a healthy, safe manner. Yet even the most developed tools can only assist in the process as when it comes to effective weight reduction, you really are what you eat. Now it seems the humble chili could be something of a secret weapon. Widely recognized as a significant metabolism booster, the little chili can make a big difference to those aiming to lose weight. Here we take a closer look at how chilies could help shift some serious pounds and also explore some added health benefits associated with eating chilies.

Capsaicin – the game changing ingredient

Chilies are by their very nature fiery foods, but there is one particular ingredient in their makeup which creates this effect – capsaicin. According to researchers the capsaicin not only heats up the taste of the chili but also melts away the body’s fat. A recent study conducted by the University of Wyoming found that capsaicin acts as a stimulant in terms of prompting the body to burn energy. As the body does this, heat is created through a process called thermogenesis and in turn calories are burnt off. The clever old capsaicin sends signals to one particular receptor in the body called potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel protein. This is a very important receptor because it suppresses obesity by transforming ‘bad’ white fat cells into ‘good’ brown fat cells. This effect could revolutionize the approach to weight loss as well as offering hope to those suffering with associated conditions such as type 2 Diabetes.

Chilies – the appetite suppressant

As well as enhancing the body’s fat burning processes, it seems that chilies can also make us want to eat less. This is a real bonus feature for those who are trying to cut down their food intake in a safe and managed way. Believed to diminish feelings of hunger, chilies can reduce the potential for snacking – a danger zone for most slimmers. They can also make the body feel fuller for longer, thereby achieving an overall reduction in the amount of food being consumed. Nutritionists at Purdue University found that even a small amount of chili added to meals could significantly slash appetite particularly for people who didn’t normally eat spicy foods.

Chilies – fringe benefits

Substance PLosing weight may be at the top of many people’s lists, after all over two-thirds of Americans alone are believed to be overweight or obese – but even those who are already trim and toned can enjoy the health benefits associated with eating chilies. Capsaicin’s fiery properties not only help burn fat – they can also be a powerful weapon in treating inflammatory conditions. A robust inhibitor of substance P, which is a neuropeptide linked with inflammatory conditions, chilies can prove beneficial in the treatment of diseases such as arthritis, neuropathy and psoriasis. The capsaicin delivers a double whammy effect – not only addressing the inflammation but also acting as a potent pain reliever.

Chilies are also an attractive proposition to anyone experiencing high cholesterol levels. As well as contributing to a reduction in these levels, chilies have also been found to help the body dissolve a naturally occurring chemical called fibrin – a substance central to the formation of dangerous blood clots. Digestive health too can be improved through the consumption of chilies. Often badly maligned as the cause of stomach ulcers, chilies have in fact the opposite effect. Chilies actually help prevent ulcers as they bump off any bacteria ingested and stimulate the cells which protect the stomach walls.

Eating chilies also facilitates a proactive approach to protecting health and wellbeing. As well as helping treat the conditions we have covered (and many more) chilies boost immunity and thus reduce the likelihood of getting sick in the first place. Containing a powerful combination of vitamin C and vitamin A, chilies promote healthy mucus membranes lining our lungs, urinary tract and nasal passages. These membranes protect the body from potential invading pathogens and so boosting their condition provides a powerful form of defense for the body.

A Chinese proverb tells us,

“The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor.”

Sounds like the author may have been eating chilies!

This is an article by Helen Fields


Swindon Chilli Fiesta 18 Jul 2015

The Swindon Chilli Fiesta is taken place on Saturday 18th July at Wharf Green, Canal Walk, Swindon SN1 1LD. The Event starts at 10am and closes at 17:30pm.

The Lakes Chilli Fest 18 Jul 2015 – 19 Jul 2015

The lakes Chilli Fest is being held over the weekend at Dalemain House & Gardens, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 0HB. There is an very impressive list of exhibitors and entertainments this year including the compulsory chilli eating competition.

Gower Chilli Festival 18 Jul 2015 – 19 Jul 2015

Setup to raise funds for the RNLI, the Gower Chilli Festival is now in its fifth year, It is being held at the South Gower Sports Club near Port Eynon, Swansea, SA3 1BA. so please go along and support this worthy cause.

For more event information please visit our events listing


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