10 September, 2012
UK’s hottest commercially grown chilli pepper goes on sale
A Bedfordshire farmer is helping fuel Britain’s growing appetite for hot, spicy food by producing an incredible half a million mouth-scorching chilli peppers each week!
This week Salvatore Genovese will unleash his most potent variety yet – the Bedfordshire Super Naga – which will be the hottest commercially grown chilli pepper sold on UK high streets when it is launched exclusively by Tesco.
And that should be great news to the army of fans across the UK who buy 45 million hot chilli peppers a year and who look forward to increasingly hot varieties arriving on the market.
Last year Salvatore launched the notorious Bhut Jolokia in the UK - a chilli pepper that is listed by the Guinness Book of Records as being 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce.
The heat of a chilli pepper is measured in Scoville Units and the Bhut Jolokia has a reading of just over one million Scovilles. The Bedfordshire Super Naga is even hotter with a reading of an incredible 1.12 million Scovilles.
Tesco chilli buyer Gethyn Formby said: “Chilli fans will love the Bedfordshire Super Naga as it has a wonderful fruity flavour to match its searing heat level.
“The heat builds slowly allowing you to savour the full flavour. It’s very deceptive because it takes a good 30 seconds for the heat to really start working and then it continues to build for a few minutes. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted and should be tasted with extreme caution.”
Salvatore’s chilli passion is a far cry from when his father started the family vegetable growing business back in 1972.
They grew mainly cucumbers and had a thriving business but 15 years ago Salvatore decided to branch out into chilli production and found that demand increased very quickly across the UK.
Salvatore, 40, added: “Until then, generally all the chillis sold in the UK were imported, mainly from Kenya or the Caribbean.
“There was probably a reluctance from UK growers to risk branching out into what was an extremely niche market but demand has really grown in the last five years and I now produce up to half a million hot chilli peppers a week during the five month season.
“In the last two years we’ve doubled production of our hottest chilli peppers and I’ve calculated that one of my chilli peppers reaches one in 200 people in the UK each week.”
While chilli pepper culture is rapidly becoming more popular throughout the UK it’s the fiercest ones such as Bhut Jolokia, scotch bonnet, habanero and bird’s eye that are growing the fastest.
Gethyn Formby said: “Chilli pepper culture in the UK has really come on in the last few years and chillis are no longer thought of as a culinary novelty.”
The Bedfordshire Super Naga costs 90p for a 15 gram packet. The packaging gives the hottest six chilli rating.
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