World's hottest commercially grown chilli pepper to hit UK

15 Jul 2011

The world’s hottest commercially grown chilli pepper is to be unleashed on UK high streets.

The world’s hottest commercially grown chilli pepper is to be unleashed on UK high streets.

Originating in the Assam region of northern India but now also grown in Bedfordshire, the Bhut Jolokia is listed by the Guinness Book of Records as being more than 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce.

It has surpassed the potency of the previous hottest high street available chilli pepper, the Dorset Naga.

Next week Tesco will begin selling the Bhut Jolokia and that has meant the supermarket’s exotic vegetable buyer Harry Jones having to attend ‘Bhut Camp’ for the last week in order to acclimatise his palate.

Said Tesco’s Harry Jones: “Part of my job is trying the vegetables I buy to ensure they are of perfect quality but unfortunately in this case it means checking out the ferociously strong Bhut Jolokia.

“So it was suggested the best way to get to grips with its awesome power was to acclimatise gradually and so I’ve had to visit the grower several times in the last week to really get to know my product.

“All the daringly hot curries I tried in my student days like a Vindaloo, and even a phal, pale into insignificance next to the Bhut.

“It’s an incredible sensation as the heat continues to build for a good 30 seconds and all I can say that it’s not for the feint-hearted.”

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 Dorset Naga has a reading of 923,000 Scovilles.

It’s being stocked by Tesco because of Britain’s current love affair with hot food and hot chilli peppers in general.

Due to the growing demand Tesco has doubled its range in the last 2 years to include ever exotic varieties including the Dorset Naga, Scotch Bonnet, Bird’s Eye, Green, Red, Finger, Rocket and Orange Topaz.

Added Tesco’s Harry Jones: “In the last five years there has been a huge growth in demand for hot chilli pepper peppers in the UK which is why we now stock so many different varieties.

“And there are two distinct markets – the foodie market which has grown because of our increasing love for hot and spicy dishes and the macho specialist market which is for hardcore chilli heads as they are known.

“Initially Tesco only sold chilli peppers in areas where there were large Afro-Caribbean and Asian communities but nowadays they have become mainstream and had their popularity boosted by the increasing popularity of Asian, Thai and other oriental food .”

The Bhut Jolokia will be sold in 15g sachets which contain up to three chillis. They cost 90p per sachet.

The Bhut Jolokia as well as most of Tesco’s other chillis are grown in Blunham, Bedfordshire, by the UK’s largest chilli grower, Salvatore Genovese, who produces an incredible 150,000 chillis each day.