Press Release: Gardening at West Dean's Award Winning Chilli Fiesta
"Live Latin bands and dance demos, plus gardening workshops and
a vintage fair mean there's plenty of fun even if your tastes are
more korma than Demon Red."
The Daily Telegraph, Top 20 UK food festivals for 2018
From 10th -12th August 2018, the UK's biggest chilli festival returns for its 23rd year. West Dean's Chilli Fiesta is a family friendly festival set in the beautiful grounds of West Dean, with full camping facilities in the grounds of West Dean Estate, in the heart of the South Downs National Park. The Estate is home to West Dean College of Arts and Conservation and the glorious West Dean Gardens.
Throughout the weekend, there will be tours of West Dean's iconic walled gardens, taking place at 1pm and 3pm daily. In addition to this, there will be gardening talks and presentations from a panel of experts, where you can pick up advice on how to grow your own chillies and learn about the varied origins of chilli plants.
Food writer, photographer and gardener, Mark Diacono will demonstrate how to make the best garden cocktails- with tasters!- exploring which herbs work best and how to grow them. Another offering from Diacono is 'A Taste of the Unexpected', where he will share ideas for growing delicious, unfamiliar edibles, and unusual varieties of those you may know, including plants such as Szechuan pepper, Chilean guava, Swiss mint and Scotch lovage.
Award-winning garden and food writer, Lia Leendertz, will also
make a guest appearance at the Chilli Fiesta. Leendertz frequently
writes for The Telegraph and The Guardian as well as writing
several gardening books including The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to
2018, and the cookbook Petal, Leaf, Seed: Cooking with the
treasures of the garden.
Joy Michaud, from renowned vegetable growers Sea Spring Seeds, will give an insight into growing and tasting, from different chilli varieties to the best Capsicums to grow and eat, and West Dean Gardens' resident chilli expert Sarah Wain will explain how best to care for your chilli plant.
There will be 150 chillies on display in the Victorian Glasshouses at West Dean Gardens, and a wide range of chilli-related food stalls can be found onsite. With over 140 stalls, visitors can expect a great variety of quirky gifts available to purchase, from hot and spicy foods of the world to chilli plants, seeds and gifts. To cool down, there will be local ice cream on offer as well as a selection of bars including Champagne, Cocktails, Los Amigos, Craft cider and ales, and The potting shed, for gins and matching tonics. As well as chilli tasting and expert cookery demonstrations, there will be an outdoor cinema, Latin music, flamenco dancing, face painting and a vintage funfair.