With the chilli festival season well under way (see our calendar for a list of the various events) there will be plenty of places to go and try out the latest hot sauces, or to challenge yourself in a chilli eating competition. One of the big festivals is the Great Dorset Chilli Festival, which is now in its fourth year.
In conjunction with Chilli Fiends, the Great Dorset Chilli Festival is giving you the chance to win a one day family pass for free entry to the event on either the Saturday 2nd or Sunday 3rd of August (but you will need to travel there under your own steam). All you need do is follow @ChilliFiends and @GrtDorsetChilli and Tweet the following in your Twitter timeline:
“@ChilliFiends @GrtDorsetChilli I will brave the fiery heat. The Great Dorset Chilli Festival 2nd/3rd Aug http://bit.ly/1kvSl4F #iwantowin”
The competition is open from now until the end of Friday 25th July, the winner will be selected at random and announced shortly afterwards.
Need more details on what entertainment the festival will provide? Then carry on reading, we have all the information you need below. Sadly there is no camping over the weekend on site, but tickets can be purchased in advance should you not be a Chilli Fiends winner on the Great Dorset Chilli Festival website, so long as you do so before 28th July.
Competition of all kinds is heating up for the Great Dorset Chilli Festival this year, taking place on the first weekend of August in the beautiful surroundings of the Earl of Shaftesbury’s St Giles Park. From cook-offs to chilli eating, and sauce to plants, professional and amateur chilli lovers alike will be doing battle to take home a coveted red rosette. For those new to the scene, expert chilli growers and chefs will be on hand to offer top tips and demonstrations … this year’s novices could be next year’s winners.
This year, the Great Dorset Chilli Festival team have once again joined forces with the UK Chilli Cook-off Association to create this regional heat of the national chilli cook-off competition. The cook-off will be held on the Sunday of the 2 day Festival, and those who believe they can cook the best chilli in Dorset are encouraged to enter. The rules are simple: teams have four hours to cook a gallon of chilli-con-carne (or vegetarian chilli) from scratch, using their own combination of ingredients and spices. The winner goes forward to the national finals, with the national winner competing in Las Vegas in the Chilli class of the World Food Championships. Don’t feel like cooking? Don’t worry! The chilli festival visitors will get to taste the entries by paying a donation to the CLIC Sargent children’s cancer charity in exchange for a sampling spoon.
Those with green fingers have already been nurturing chilli plants for several months, ahead of the annual chilli plant competition on Saturday 2nd August. Amateur growers are welcome to enter their plants into either the open class or the Numex Twilight variety class, exclusively for specimens of this striking ornamental chilli. Experts from Sea Spring Seeds, Simpsons Seeds and Amateur Gardening magazine will select the winner of each class on Saturday afternoon, and each will be awarded a £50 garden centre voucher. Meanwhile, the pros, namely Dorset-based chilli and vegetable seeds specialists, Sea Spring Seeds, will be displaying only the very best examples of this year’s crop in the Chilli Plant Exhibition tent.
Often dubbed as the highlight of the day, the Chilli Eating Competition will be testing the limits of even the most hardened chilli-heads. Brave competitors will subject themselves to ten rounds of increasingly hot chillies, which they have to consume in its entirety before they progress to the next round. The last man or woman standing will be crowned the winner. Willing volunteers need to email to request an application form ahead of the event.
For those who like it hot, but don’t like to have an audience, the Tasting Tent will be the ideal destination. Professional producers will be going head-to-head to discover who creates the best chilli sauces, chilli jam and spicy chutney, and it’s up to the public to decide! A blind tasting will give visitors a flavour for what is on offer to try and buy from the many stall holders. Organisers are exceptionally proud to introduce their brand new 2014 Great Dorset Chilli Festival sauce, exclusively created by The Upton Cheyney Chilli Co. But sauces and condiments won’t be the only things on sale; a huge variety of traders will be selling everything from local cheeses to chilli seeds, and ceramic kitchenware to English sparkling wine.
With all these fresh ingredients on offer, expert chefs will be showing how to use them in the Demonstration Tent. Focus will be on creating excellent family suppers using chillies, showcasing home-cooking at its best. New for this year, White Pepper Cookery School’s very own expert on Japanese cuisine will be talking to visitors on Saturday, whilst Christine McFadden of Dorset Foodie fame will be sharing her ‘hot’ tips on Sunday. Any budding competitors for next year’s Chilli Cook-Off mustn’t miss Cook-Off Organiser, Jon Doody, who will be sharing his insider tips on how to make the best chilli-con-carne.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, there will be plenty of family entertainment throughout the weekend; falconry flying displays, fire breathing, and performances by Alfredo the Magician. For hands on fun, there will be face painting, tree climbing, carriage rides, bouncy castles, and a caricaturist. For the ‘big kids’, there will once again be a great selection of performers in the music tent, including Dorset skiffle band Quinns Quinney and The Montgomerys. The beer and cider tent will quench thirsts, with the help of the brand new cocktail tent.
It almost goes without saying that there will be an amazing selection of the very best artisan food producers and spicy street food vendors. With even more caterers attending this year, there will be something to suit the spicy and less-spicy palate alike; from vegetarian and gluten-free snacks and curries, to gourmet sandwiches and exotic tagines. If you feel the need to cool off, Dorset-based Purbeck Ice Cream will be on hand with their delicious offering, whilst others will be serving up everything from frozen yogurt to traditional French crêpes.
The development of the Dorset Naga, at one time reputed to be the world’s hottest chilli, has really put Dorset on the map for chilli enthusiasts, so be sure not to miss this fun, friendly festival guaranteed to be Dorset’s hottest event! Advance reduced price tickets are on sale now, so head to the website to pick one up!