CHILLI – con – CARNIVAL

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I tend to try stay away from clichés, however there is really no other way to describe how things are in our house at the moment. “The heat is on” and perfectly timed it seems, as the Cape winter rain is settling in kindly, or not so kindly for some. The men in my extended family are known for a commonality that runs deep in their blood – their love of heat in the form of spice, or chilli! In fact, my father-in-law has been known to arrive at weekend braai’s with a single birds eye stashed in his pocket just in case the variety we stock is not up to scratch! He has even admitted to the occasional slicing of fresh chilli onto his Cocoa Pops in the morning! Need I say more?!

This being said, I decided to put their palettes to the test with the eat.art range of Chilli Addict sauces. Aptly named for this bunch, my tasting team arrived with gusto, strong guts and revered commitment to the cause.

INTRODUCING THE TEAM~

  • Head of the table – Lolly – aka father-in-law otherwise known as Mr. “the Hotter the Better”.
  • Flanked by – Bev – aka partner in crime otherwise known as Mr. “Green Tabasco” with a preference for everything and anything vaguely chilli.
  • Next in line – Matt – aka brother-in-law otherwise known as Mr. Flying Pan and real life chef, lover of smoky flavours and a heat preference ranging from 7 to 11 out of 10.
  • Our representative of the female species – Bridget – aka soon to be sister-in-law otherwise known as Ms. Flying Pan also with a preference for smoke in flavours and lover of exotic heat such as that found in Thai cuisine.
  • Lastly, our guest player – Arthur –  aka Mr. Picasso, fond of art and sculpture and not particularly fond of heat and spice in food!

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Thinking that it would be best to dive right in, I presented the Birds Eye Chilli Sauce, rated by Chilli Addict as “mean” and scoring a bold 9/10. A sense of nervous anticipation was evident in the licking of lips and ripping of bread at the ready to dip and smear.  Pronouncements such as “I taste vinegar, instant heat; and oooohh be careful” were swiftly delivered along with the first tear to be shed by Bev…and yet the conversation continued, the excitement built, the salivation increased and the sauce was all but licked off the plates!

Next, we presented the Korean Chilli and Garlic Sauce described by Chilli Addict as being “saucy, sexy and sensible”, rated “mean” on the heat scale and scoring a demure 5/10. Bums lifted off chairs as our team lunged in and confidently announced “too mellow, very peppery, needs sugar, perfect for a sandwich spread” and then leant back and asked promptly for the tissues! According to our resident family chef, this sauce would be “simply divine as a basting on Portuguese style prawns or chicken!” A handy hint considering our Supper Club happens to be a) Portuguese, and b) fast approaching!

At this point I was ordered into the kitchen to slice more French loaf for dipping, whilst the team helped themselves to seconds except for Arthur who found his way to the fridge in search of a tall glass of milk…

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Chipotle BBQ (Smoked Chilli) Sauce was next in line – and after being curtly corrected in my pronunciation of the variant by Mr. Flying Pan [pr: chi-pot-le] – the team seemed more hesitant in their approach to this sauce. A good five minutes was spent noting the smell and deep colouring and descriptions such as “cured meat, liquid braai and simply mmmmmmmm” abounded. As if now bruised by experience, the general mood had definitely shifted to one of mild apprehension perhaps partly owing to scorched taste buds and partly due to Chilli Addicts rating of “ouch” and a scoring of a respectful 7/10! Lolly was first off the bench with a definite declaration that there was “just too much smoke”…which didn’t stop the team from helping themselves to seconds and thirds to ‘make sure they were in agreement’. It has to be noted that by this stage Arthur had retired on account of creeping heartburn.

Our remaining four leaned back sucking air between their teeth, cheeks rosy and hanky’s to the brow…to simply stare at the last of my Chilli Addict offerings….

And so enters, Chilli Addicts Habanero Sauce with a score of no less than 10/10 and a rating of “lethal”. Described by Chilli Addict as “punishingly hot, with horns” the conversation died down to the odd nervous chuckle and snort, and once again my beloved father-in-law broke the ice and plunged in, head down and eyes closed! The portions per plate had drastically reduced in size, as the team were silently wondering what the hell they agreed to this for! Ms. Flying Pan (always on the lookout for the positive) declared “a slight sweetness”, my partner in crime doubled over admitting to dipping into the 5/10 in a helpless attempt to dilute the burn. Mr. Flying Pan looked confused as if what he was experiencing could not possibly be real before stating “this is hectic, it just keeps getting hotter!”, and bless Lolly – despite the drenched brow and sweaty palms – he manages on a half splutter – “it opens the taste buds like nothing else!” And there you have it – from Mr. “The Hotter the Better” – in Habanero heaven, and I believe I have rightfully deserved being written into his will after bringing his taste buds to life with the Chilli Addict sauces, faultlessly named and now feverishly tried and tested!

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In gracious thanks for allowing me to burn the living daylights of out them, I treated the tasting team to a pot of my scrumptious home-made pea and ham soup….my personal version of comfort food, and in this case, theirs too! Interestingly, it was here that the beauty of the Chipotle Sauce was discovered and for what it’s worth, earned my thumbs up for its smoulder, perfectly complimented by the more subtle pork in the soup and made even more fabulous with a generous sprinkling of Hawaiian Black Lava Salt.

Despite the dubious toilet descriptions received the following day, far too dramatic for this blog, I succeeded in bringing warmth, heat, excitement, passion, laughter, light, a few tears of pain and of joy to our home on a cold, wet Cape Sunday afternoon….All in a day’s work for a busy momma, and thanks to the pure verve provided by eat.arts’ range of Chilli Addict sauces.

Highly recommended – under adult supervision – with tummies well lined and primed!

Written for eat.art by: Nancy Hoepner

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Only slightly exhausted mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual and performing arts. Having worked with the eat-art team before, she is thrilled, and slightly bewildered to have been asked to (take time out from juggling and) add some spice to the eat.art blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige.

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3 thoughts on “CHILLI – con – CARNIVAL

  1. Pingback: The choc-chilli challenge |

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