So it's been a busy week of festivals for the Hot Sauce Club team with a visit to the the Fiery Foods Festival in Brighton followed by the Festival of Heat in Shoreditch.
The Fiery Foods Festival will always hold a fond place in our hearts, having attended many times during my 7 years spent living in Brighton. As always it was a great day culminating in a hotly contested chilli eating competition.
For such a young festival The Festival of Heat was very well attended by both chilli vendors and the public alike. Among the hustle and bustle of Old Street we arrived to a queue of 50 plus attendees eagerly waiting to enter the already full venue.
It was worth the wait with great entertainment and a broad selection of vendors from all across the UK, but we have to admit to slipping out early as despite their system of one in one out it felt slightly over crowded.
Before departing we of course sampled the many wares on offer inlcuding the fabulour sauces from the new kids on the block, SideKick Sauces as well as some more seasoned pro's such as the Grim Reaper gang.
A particular product that stood out for us, not just because of it's exceptional heat and porky goodness was the limited edition #PigGate pork scratchings manufactured by Fire Foods, and cleverly branded by Mushemi Fire.
With Cameron in the press this week for his alleged oral 'intercourse' with a pig back in his Bullingdon club days, the product couldn't have been more cleverly marketed. Hats off to the Mushemi Fire team for some stellar branding here.
There is one chilli chutney out there so delicious that it is dominating all others, and lucky for us it’s made right here in the UK. Mr Vikki’s Hot Banana Habanero was last week declared among ‘quite simply the best fifty foods in the world’ by the 2015 Great Taste Awards.
Judges said that the combination of banana and chilli left ‘a marvellous lingering heat’ in the mouth. Given its the second time this chutney has won the most coveted 3 star rating, scooping it first in 2013, it is certainly a chutney with staying power.
Mr Vikki’s is a small Indian Fusion pickle producer tucked away in the beautiful Lake district, Cumbria. According to owners and self confessed chilli addicts Adam Marks and Mary Ballantyne, their Hot Banana Habanero has a secret recipe that took four years to perfect. It is packed with fresh ginger, bananas and the healthy kick of the habanero pepper - a serious chilli rated near the top of the Scoville scale and definitely not for the tentative type. Eat it with curry, chicken, sandwiches and pretty much anything in need of some excitement and spice.
Six other Mr Vikki’s products also came away with one or two stars at this years’ awards, all of which are made in small batches by hand with nothing but fresh and natural ingredients.
But it was the Hot Banana Habanero that won out. As the only hot sauce or chilli creation to make it into the Top 50 2015 Great Taste overall winners, where more than 10,000 food and drinks were submitted across all categories, that is surely some very special chutney indeed.
In some of our boxes we like to include a grow kit. Here are the accompanying instructions to get you started.
2 x Biodegradable pots
2 x Peat disks
2 x Plant markers
First things first you will need to germinate your seeds. There are a few schools of thought on this, but we have opted to use the kitchen towel method.
Damp a sheet of kitchen paper and place the chilli seeds on top. Fold over the paper and place in a zip lock plastic bag (if you dont have one place on a plate but check regularly to ensure towel is kept moist). Place the bag / plate in a warm area for 7-12 days.
By now the seeds should have begun sprouting and be ready for planting.
The next step is to prepare the peat pellets.
Place the pellets in dish and pour over a cup of water. Leave for a few minutes until the water is absorbed, pat down the pellet cylinders to remove any excess water and place within the planting pot.
Use a pen to poke a hole about 1cm deep in to each of the pellets. Drop 1 or 2 seeds in to each hole and cover gently with peat.
Place the pots on a window ledge with plenty of light and add a few drops of water daily to ensure the water is moist.
Once the plants are around 5-10cm tall you can replant these in to a larger pot. This can be a stressful time for the plant, however with the biodegradable pots you can simply drop these in to a larger pot and surround by soil for minimal disruption.
For best results grow under glass in a warm environment.
We'd love to see the results, send us a pic on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
Here is one of our little babies. We'll follow up with more pictures soon.
Today was a special day, an immense day; a day for the history books. Our lives changed today in ways we could never have imagined only yesterday. Today is the day we discovered the Utensilmate.
The Utensilmate cleverly attaches to your fork and at the push of a button delivers a blast of heat to every mouthful. OK so maybe we got a bit carried away but we are definitely getting one; genuinely one of the oddest Kickstarter campaigns that we have come across, but perhaps because of that - the first we have chosen to back.
It's a mix of syringe, sauce bottle and cutlery, with it's sole purpose to inject a bit of spice in to every bite. Like a water pistol the nozzle is dipped in to the sauce of your choosing and liquid is sucked up in to the container. Your silverware is attached via a magnetic holder with the nozzle positioned to deliver the goods to whatever is on your fork at the time via use of a little red knob.
There is still plenty of time to back this campaign if you head across to Kickstarter now.
On the downside it's not dishwasher safe and will only handle 1.5oz of hot sauce but hey we are not going to let that stop us.
Last week we launched a competition to win one of 5 hot sauce boxes. After a week of frantic comments, tweets, tags and sharing, the competition came to a close on Sunday evening.
We'd like to thank sincerely thank everyone for their participation. As much as we'd love to be able to give everyone a box we can pick only 5 winners. In order to stay impartial in judging this competition we compiled a list of all entrants and left the name selection to chance, using an online tool to select the winners.
The winners will each receive July's hot sauce subscription box, featuring all of the same goodies as our hot sauce club members. For further details of the box contents check out our 'previous box' page (going up later on this afternoon).
We are currently waiting on some new branded packaging which we are excited to show off. As such we will be sending boxes on Tuesday 21st July with expected delivery by the 23rd.
The competition is of course no strings attached but if you are one of the lucky few listed below we'd greatly appreciate your honest feedback, and if you like it why why not shout about it to your friends!
There is a good chance that if you are reading this you love hot sauce. We know there are plenty more people out there that love it too.
With 5 days to go until we ship our first boxes of hot goodies to the nation, we want to give you and a friend the chance to win a box each, completely free.
To be in with a chance of winning simply share this post on Facebook or Twitter and tag a friend.
We will be announcing the winner on Sunday 12th July. Happy sharing!
We are pleased to be able to unveil our new packaging design (printed on brown card).
The packaging is now on order and should be with us for our first subscription shipments (fingers crossed).
It may be too late for us to change it now but we'd still welcome your feedback as there will be an opportunity for us to mix it up when we put in our next order.
We thought long and hard about the size of the box and eventually settled on slightly larger dimensions to give us ability to include the greatest range of products.
The new dimensions ( 250 x 200 x 76 ) will allow us to ship everything from the smallest bottles of pure heat to the larger more refined table sauces.
We are super stoked to announce that the first 50 subscribers to any of our subscription box packages will receive a 33 Sauces Hot Sauce Journal in their first box.
We've admired these from afar for some time and have finally managed to get our hands on our first shipment.
33 Hot Sauces is a pocket-sized hot sauce journal designed specifically with hot sauce lovers in mind. It's small enough to fit in your pocket so you never need to miss an opportunity to capture the taste and aroma of your favorite sauces again.
|33 Hot Sauces' flavour wheel - Recall a sauce's unique flavor long after consumption|
To be in with a chance of securing one of these, sign up to one of our subscription boxes now!
If you weren't one of our first 50 subscribers and you'd still like to get your hands on one we are now stocking these in the chiili store.
We are excited to announce that our first Hot Sauce Subscription boxes will begin shipped between the 10-12th July. Over the next few weeks we are wrapping up some essentials including licensing and finalizing designs for some cool new packaging (which we can't wait to show off). Until then please keep up to date and in touch via any of our social media channels.
Over the coming weeks we'll be running a number of competitions with opportunities for you to win great prizes including individual sauces, one off boxes and subscriptions. Perhaps most exciting of all we'll be running a competition to name our inaugural own label hot sauce. Get your thinking hats on now - special points are going to be awarded for creativity!
You can find links to our social media channels in the footer links at the bottom of this page.