9 Days 9 Stalls, Part 3: Record Breakers & Knee Shakers
Only 1 day to go! In the concluding part of our blog series counting down to the 20th West Dean Chilli Fiesta, we take a look at some of our long serving exhibitors that have been with the festival all through it's adolescence and awkward teenage years! And they're back again this year to see the Fiesta turn 20 : )
Simpson's Seeds are a small family run business, located in west Wiltshire, operating out of the kitchen Garden on the Longleat estate. They specialise mainly in tomatoes, salad crops and of course chillies! However, we all know that you can't write off the little guy! Just ask this small selection of underdogs…
Ok…maybe a tad dramatic there…and the last one was fictional. Sorry folks. But the fact still remains, the little guys can do great things! Matt Simpson visited the Fiesta in 1999 and has been an exhibitor with his kitchen garden supplier every year since. Simpson's Seeds have a huge range of chilli seeds and plants at their disposal (see Sarah Wain's top 10 chilli varieties), but have made headlines for one rather special spicey specimen in particular…and her name is Katie.
The fruit of one of Matt's Habanero Chilli plants, affectionately known as 'The Katie', is the hottest ever grown in the UK! Weighing in at an eye watering 1,590,000 Scoville heat units (the standard heat measurement system), it's certainly not to be messed with (as Matt ill-advisedly did in this clip).
What's even more fascinating however, is the way Matt managed to get The Katie's SHU to surpass the old record by a whopping 200,000 units. Supposedly, it was done by denying it water, pretending to be a predator and even shouting at the plant!
It may sound extreme…and a bit weird. But the results speak for themselves. Plus I think there are patterns here that the regular chilli enthusiast can draw parallels with when monching on their favourite fiery fruit. It's that little bit of lunacy resulting when its over in a heady mix of relief and a large sense of accomplishment. ;)
Read 20 more weird and wonderful chilli facts to compliment the lunacy here…
Watch out for Matt at this year's West Dean Chilli Fiesta on the 7th, 8th and 9th of August. He'll be bringing with him a very special 'Celebration Sauce' to mark the Fiesta's 20th anniversary! I can't wait! :D