Review and video by Rob House – Chillies purchased from Tesco
UK supermarkets have traditionally been a bit disappointing when it comes to shopping for fresh chillies. Until a couple of years ago most simply offered red or green chillies, but one of the first to buck the trend were Morrisons with the introduction of loose scotch bonnets and jalapeños as part of their Market Street initiative.
Morrisons weren’t the only supermarket to spot the increasing demand for spicier foods though and in 2012 Tesco introduced the Super Naga; a pungent chilli which averaged a whopping 1.1 million on the Scoville heat scale.
The Super Naga and many other chillies are grown for Tesco by Salvatore Genovese at his chilli farm in Bedfordshire. The farm currently produces over one million chillies per week making it the largest farm of its kind in the UK. To top it all, Salvatore is growing something even hotter this year – the Trinidad Scorpion!
“It could be that the Trinidad Scorpion is way too hot for the UK market”, says Salvatore, “But for the Bedfordshire Burner [the Super Naga], I was getting calls from chilli-heads all over the world and it went down a storm, which is why I decided to grow an even hotter variety”.
Many chilli-heads will be familiar with the Trinidad Scorpion as the ‘Butch T’ strain of the pepper was previously recognised as the world’s hottest until it was knocked off the top spot by the Carolina Reaper in November 2013. Salvatore’s scorpions aren’t quite as hot as the Butch T or Carolina Reaper, but still average an impressive 1.2M SHU; that’s several hundred times hotter than a jalapeño!
Currently, you can only find Trinidad Scorpions in 235 of Tesco’s 3,378 stores. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to find two bags at Tesco Extra in Bursledon, Hampshire.
Being no stranger to spicy challenges, I decided to sample a whole pod. In hindsight, that may not have been my finest idea as you can see in the video below.
Well, I have to admit that was much hotter than I was anticipating. That was definitely one of the hottest peppers I have ever tried. You’ve been warned – don’t try this at home!
With the seeds and placenta removed, the aroma of these scorpions is quite pleasant. It’s predominately fruity with some floral undertones. Unfortunately, the taste is a bit of a mixed bag. Consumed raw, the fruitiness of the chilli is overpowered by the chemical taste of the capsaicinoids found in the chilli’s oils. The chemical taste was indiscernible when added to a curry though, so these peppers would be a great addition to a stew or other similar dish. Tesco describe these chillies as “Ideally used in Jamaican cooking. Its scorching heat and distinctive fruity aroma makes it the chilli of choice for cooks wanting a new experience”. I think this is a fair description.
The packaging is fairly typical for Tesco except for the addition of the “Super Super Hot” sticker. Personally, I would rather see some bolder packaging, as given a casual glance there is very little to distinguish these chillies from the others in the Tesco range.
Currently, these chillies are only available in 15g packs which equates to two or three chillies per pack. Priced at £1 they’re great value for use as a casual cooking ingredient, but a bit on the expensive side if you wish to use them in sauces or preserves.
Overall these Trinidad Scorpions from Tesco blew me away. If you’re a chilli-head who can’t get enough heat then these are the perfect chillies for you.