Cayenne

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.

Challock Chilli Festival

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.

Challock Chilli Festival

In terms of food stalls, we got to sample sauces from Karimix UK who, not only had their own sauces and preserves to try, but also had some products from Byron Bay Chilli Company and Kankun.

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.

Challock Chilli Festival Polytunnel

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.

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Purus; Adjective meaning Pure or CleanThis sauce is exactly that, The Chilli Alchemist AKA Jay Webley from The Clifton Chilli Club has used his knowledge of chillies gained from the clubs passion for exploring the offerings of sauce makers across the globe, to extract what is best about the Naga Jolokia, its sweet zesty but powerful punch. The other ingredients are merely a vehicle to support the Nagas flavour and deliver the long slow release of heat, which is expertly tempered to be not too overpowering, believe me its not for a chilli novice but also not so hot as to not be enjoyable and mask the base flavours.

Ingredients: Red chillies(Naga Jolokia & Cayenne), Carrot, Onion, Cider vinegar, Garlic, Sugar and Salt.

There’s a surprising salsa-esque flavour, seeing as there is no tomato (possibly coming from the cayenne), yet has the effect of refreshing the pallet with expertly balanced seasoning letting you taste the sweet, savoury and sour notes individually before combining in a satisfying aftertaste. The texture is loose with a fine chunkiness enabling it to pour freely from the bottle, Ive used it as a burger relish as well as adding to curries and chillies, but to use Purus as intended its best as a dip, allowing for the naga to be celebrated and not a side note to other foods.

The design of the label runs with the alchemists theme of medieval warlocks and mythology with a brooding deep red background contrasting black naga chilli surrounded by runes and symbols with the ingredients list on a stylized parchment. As with all the Alchemists sauces Purus is available in two styles and sizes, the standard bottle holds 148ml and costs £4.99, the larger (200ml) Apothecary bottle with its long wax sealed neck and elegant bowl comes in at £9.50 and is a must for the hot sauce collector or an extra special gift.

Flavour
(9/10)
Heat
(8/10)
Packaging
(8/10) – standard bottle
Packaging
(9/10) – apothecary bottle
Value (8/10)
Overall
(8/10)

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The Dukkah Company Hot SandDukkah, Dakka, Dukka or Duqqa is a spicy mixture of herbs, nuts and spices. Its name from from the Arabic “to pound” and that is exactly how you make it, collect together your ingredients and pound them into mixture. It is often served as as a dry dip that you then dip oiled bread into.

As a spice mixture it is not limited to dipping, but can be used to season a salad, sprinkling over you soup or even mixing with some plain yoghurt and using to flavour some chicken before barbecuing.

I have tried a few dukkah recipes over the past decade, but this is my first one from The Dukkah Company that have passed across my desk. It looks very appetising with lots of sesame seeds and a few larger chilli flakes in the otherwise orange mixture.

Ingredients: Sesame seeds, Almonds, Fennel, Cayenne, Paprika, Chilli, Black pepper, Celery Salt.

I have set myself up ready with a few chunks of rustic bread and a small bowl of my best olive oil, now this one of the few times when it is acceptable to double dip.

First taste is a complete joy, not to hot, but warming, I can feel the texture of the sesame seeds and the warmth of the cayenne and paprika, with the black pepper with just a hint of the celery salt. Often the cheaper Dakkah mixes I have tried are far to salty, the balance here is just about perfect, it is irresistible combination that just seems to get better the more I dip.

Making your own Dakkah mix is not hard, there are lots of recipes, but this one is worth the £3.75 for the 65g pot and it is surprising how far this little pot will go. I have used about 1/3 of the pot so far. Tonight it will be used to sprinkle on some chicken pieces before being cooked in the oven. Then how about a sprinkle a little on some freshly cooked croutons to go with the salad.

Flavour
(9/10)
Heat
(4/10)
Packaging
(9/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(8.5/10)


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SonnyI came across Sonny as he had painted some pictures of chillies and had posted some the chilli groups on FaceBook his water colours for me seem to have captured the chilli look just about right.

Sonny has been painting for about 25 years specialising in portraits and landscapes in both watercolour and acrylics oils pastels, Sonny has worked and painted around the world including Scotland, Australia, Spain, Africa, America and is now back in the United Kingdom. His passion for growing chillies has inspired him to produce artworks and jewellery showing off the beautiful shapes and colours of the many varieties.

You can find Sonny visiting many of the UK chillies festivals and see more of his paintings if you follow this link to his Facebook page

Sopnny Chana Water Colour Chillies Chilli’s include Cayenne, Twilight, Scotch Bonnet, Black Pearl, Jalapeño, Trinidad Scorpion, Apache, Carolina Reaper, Vampire, Chocolate Habanero, Hot Tomato and Friar’s Hat.

Sonny is selling signed prints of the picture above, the small to the right is 15cm x 20cm (double mounted 28cm x 34cm) is £20 plus £3 p&p, the larger print to the left is 20cm x 29cm (double mounted 34cm x 43cm) is £30 plus £3 p&p, Printed on high quality paper.

Painting in progress

Watercolour Chilli

Chilli Earings

If you would like to contact Sonny about his work, or to order a print or some jewellery, please use the form below.
[contact-form to=’sonnyschana@aol.com’ subject=’Chilefoundry Form Contact’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Question’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

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