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Chilli Mad at West Dean Chilli Festival

by Claire Martinsen on Wed 10th Aug 2011 10:52

Spent three glorious days last week down near Chicester at the country’s biggest Chilli Festival – West Dean!

It was our first time there………..and we absolutely loved it!  In the Chilli world its the mecca, and people had travelled from far and wide to be there [including coming down from Scotland!].  The setting for the three days was West Dean, home of the Edward James foundation.  The house and grounds provided a stunning background.

There was literally everything chilli there – chilli jewellery, chilli patterned shoes, chilli patterned china and plates, chilli patterned clothing, sauces [of all types], smoked goods, jamaican food, chilli pizzas [cooked in a wood stove], chilli cheese, chilli ice-cream, chilli sausages, chilli burgers, chilli pies……….the list was endless!

And in between all these gorgeous chilli delights were live bands, salsa dancing, belly dancing and lots more…….which gave the whole event a wonderful carnival atmosphere.  If you hadn’t been in Chichester, you could have thought you were in Rio, or Tunisia!

There were some SERIOUSLY hot sauces out there – including quite a few with the Naga [or Ghost chilli].  Our neighbours at the show were Hot Stuff Chilli Company from Newcastle, and their Kiss Ass sauce certainly did.  I’ve not got a very seasoned chilli pallet, so just stuck with their ‘medium’ sauces, which certainly was spicy! Most of the visitors were chilli fanatics………but not all by any means…….there was something for everyone!

Chloe and I were there with our lovely drinks!  Ginger Beer with Chilli was the most popular, but we also dispensed lots of our ‘healing’ Lemonade!  We had some lovely comments and feedback – which is always really lovely!

I went chilli mad too, and have come home with my very own chilli plant for the garden!  There was an amazing selection to buy at the show………..including some very ususual plants that were stunning to look at.  West Dean even provided a ‘plant creche’ – somewhere to get your plants minded whilst you continued to shop!

Hopefully my little chilli plant will continue to remind me of West Dean over the next 12 months……..its a wonderfully perfect party x [and I’m missing the Belly Dancing music already………sigh!]


Posted in: Food Festivals and Shows


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