Saturday, 27 September 2014

I met a chilli sauce hero at Hyde Hall!

Today I dragged my ever-tolerant family to the Chilli weekend at RHS Hyde Hall in Essex, my wife is a professional gardener and Royal Horticultural Society member so I have to be honest and admit the idea was hers entirely.  She knew the fact they had a chilli weekend would lure me out of bed on a Saturday morning and so there I was, half-asleep being transported down the A12 with the promise of chilli related fun.  Fun and 'early morning' are not two words I usually associate with each other.

When we arrived at what I thought was a 'chilli festival' but turned out to be a 'chilli weekend' I found a few marquees and a live band punting out passable versions of the kinda songs we all like to tunelessly mumble along to.  Because we were on hallowed horticultural ground I was expecting the exhibitors to be a mix of plantsmen (and women) and chilli sauce sorcerers, which they were.  Sort of.

There was a fine selection of folk to advise those who wish to grow their own chillies, a few curry spice suppliers (who sadly I didn't have time to visit) but there was just once stall selling hot sauce.  It was a little disappointing from the perspective of a chilli sauce fan, but the fantastic surroundings made it almost impossible to be disappointed with anything at all.  When I saw who the sole sauce seller was there was absolutely no way I was anything other than chuffed daft!  So who was the only fella there selling chilli sauce?  Read on my friend...

Hyde Hall Chilli Weekend.

I met the master of bhut jolokia death!

In my long and mostly mundane past I've met a few mainstream famous folk, interviewed them, worked for them etc etc etc but I've never been terribly starstruck.  Today I met the man behind Norfolk Heatwave, creator of the ESSENTIAL ' Caribbean Certain Death Ultra Hot Chilli Sauce'.  This is a sauce that I hold in such high-regard it's almost a little embarrassing.  Norfolk Heatwave are all over this blog like a cheerful rash, and today I actually got to meet the man behind one of the best chilli sauces on the planet.

Sadly I didn't get much of a chance to chat - I've run exhibition stalls many times myself in the past so I was very aware that it would be very unfair to take up too much of his time.  Instead I just gushed about how brilliant his Caribbean style bhut jolokia sauce is, told him about how every time I visit Holt in Norfolk I buy up every bottle Budgens has on sale, then shuffled off a little red in the face, apologising for being a bit 'stalkerish'.

I did get a chance to try a new sauce the man himself had on sale, and no doubt I'll blog about that at some point in the near future.  I did manage to snap a cheesy photo though!

Check out Norfolk Heatwave at

Poor fella must have been thinking 'who is this freak?'

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