This weekend we found ourselves in Brighton for a non chilli event (I know what was I doing). So to make sure I got my Chilli fix we went to see the new owner of what was the ChilliPepperPete Chilli Shop. The Brighton Chilli Shop is still in the same location at 73 Trafalgar Street, Brighton. BN1 4EB. The signage has changed but the shop still contains an Aladdin cave of chilli goodies.
Tony the new owner of the shop could not be more welcoming, he has a bright smile and is very proud of the changes he is making and is keen to learn the trade. Fresh out of university in 2014, he had heard that the ChilliPepperPete company was looking to sell the shop as a going concern and so he contacted them and the deal was done.
There are tasting going on in the shop all the time, and with such a large range it takes a while to see what there is on offer. Tony is just starting out on social media, so follow him on twitter and Facebook. The shops web site is coming so visit www.brightonchillishop.co.uk and enter your email to be notified when they get it all online.
Here at the ChileFoundry we wish Tony good luck with his new venture.
Jenny Song and her partner John run China Spice from a base in West Sussex. Jenny is a well established Chinese cook with a wealth of experience cooking authentic Chinese food, which is nothing like the takeaways we indulge in here in the UK. China Spice are importers of Chillies and Spices from China, specifically the Chengdu, Sichuan region of China which is where Jenny grew up.
This region of China is well known for its Chillies, something I was not aware of until I had the opportunity to visit Jenny & John last year at their base. There are incredible photos of the Chinese drying chillies in their millions, chillies on rooftops, hanging off anything which will allow them to dry evenly.
The region is known for its Dragon Back Chillies, which are named after the man made terracing of the steep hills to accommodate the growing of rice, these contoured hills have been around for over 700 years and from a distance resemble the scales on a Dragons back. These Chillies are very much sought after in China and are an ingredient in the main chilli sauce made in the region called Pixian Douban. This sauce consists of broad beans and chillies and sits in clay pots until it has fermented.
China Spice also sell authentic kits to enable people to create the authentic tastes of Sichuan, with no sign of any MSG. The most famous of these is the Huo Guo or Hot Pot, cooked in a round metal dish which is divided in two in a “Ying and “Yang shape.
The sauce that comes in the kit goes in one side after cooking in a wok to create a fiery hot dipping style sauce and the other made to be milder, ideally heated at the table but can be heated in the kitchen, other ingredients can be added or pre cooked and dipped into the sauce/stock, meat, vegetables, the list is endless.
They also sell a Mapo Doufu sauce, which is as authentic to the Chengdu region as it could be as the recipe came from there and the restaurant that first served it is still open for business. This sauce is made to go with Tofu but other ingredients can be added, and can make a relatively bland ingredient come to life.
Here’s Carl Anderson demonstrating how easy this is to cook
Now in the video Carl talks about Sichuan Flower Peppers, not to be confused with normal peppercorns or even supermarket Sichuan Flower Peppers. These are a fairly unique ingredient and something I had never come across until I saw China Spice at the Fiery Foods UK Chilli Festival in Brighton last year. These are not actually a pepper but related to the Citrus family. They grow like berries and are dried.
China Spice were giving out samples, and inviting people to gently chew and move the pepper around the mouth and wait for the sensation to take effect.
These are not spicy in the Chilli sense but give a fizzing numbness around the mouth like nothing else, they stimulate your saliva glands and the effect can last 30 minutes or more. The effect can be likened to licking a battery (not that I would advise that!) and is very potent, and works like a mild anesthetic, apparently in China, they are used to reduce tooth ache.
People have described these as having the “Willy Wonka” effect and I can see why. From the photos you can see that they are actually the husks from around the seeds which are black. China Spices Sichuan Flower Peppers have minimal seeds and according to Jenny, less reputable sources will have lots to seeds in the bag which adds to the weight. If you have never tried these then I would urge you to contact China Spice and buy a small bag to try them, they are certainly unique!
So pay China Spice’s website a visit and maybe buy a bag of Flower Peppers, you really should try them once!
You may think that you have to be in the South of the UK to grow Chillies, but that is not the case as Chillilicious is proving.
Chillilicious is Scotland’s first and only chilli farm, run by a Mother/Daughter duo, Patricia and Stacey Galfskiy, creating a superbly unique range of chilli products unlike anything currently available on the market.They specialise in delicious handmade chilli products that focus on the flavour of the chilli and how it balances and compliments the other ingredients of the preserve, not just the burn, therefore our products appeal to a very wide range of customers.
The truth is in the taste!Adding to the unique niche of the company they also have a glass fusing studio on the farm creating elegant chilli themed serving dishes and other kitchenalia.
These are created using recycled, or “upcycled” (as they call it) glass like old beer bottles, they create some new and inspiring chilli themed products which add a very nice touch to their stands at events.This can range from glass chopping boards to chilli shaped magnets.
This coupled with chilli chutneys, preserves and sauce produced from their own chilli crop, Chillilicious are going places. Look out for their stall at Chilli events and food fairs the length and bredth of the UK.
I have to admit that sadly I know very little about Peru, except that Paddington Bear come from Darkest Peru. So here is a quick bit about Peru.
The Republic of Peru is in Western South America it borders to the north Ecuador and Colombia with Brazil and Bolivia on the east and south east and finally Chile to its south. To the west is the mighty Pacific Ocean. The population is around 30 million who’s main language is Spanish, but they also speak Quechua or other native languages. Evidence of human habitation goes back to 9000 BC with the oldest known human society, the Norte Chico living on the west coast between 3,000 and 1,800 BC. In modern times the country is described as developing and has great potential for growth with exports to the rest of the world of copper, gold, zinc.
So why am I talking about Peru.. Well we have just received a range of sauces from Rico Picante who are producing authentic Peruvian Chilli Sauces using 100% fresh Peruvian chillies and some traditional family recipes.
Hot Sauces from Rico Picante
The business was started by Allison Ward and Christian Castillo-Martienez who are brother and sister, they originally come from Lima (The Capital of Peru). The sauces have won many awards including the coveted Great Taste Gold Award in 2011 and they are being stocked in Fortnum & Mason and Selfridges from April this year. You can also find them in many independent Deli’s. and almost uniquely for a American readership, they are stocked in Williams-Sonoma (One of my favourite stores in the USA).
So if you would like to try some of there sauces why not visit them at www.ricopicante.co.uk our review will start shortly.