Six of the best chilli foods from Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 00:00 10 October 2014 | UPDATED: 13:41 24 October 2015
These foodie products from Yorkshire are hot stuff
I took a few really big bites out of a jalapeño chilli pepper once, writes Tony Greenway. Well, I was 18 and egged on to do it by a couple of mates — and it seemed like a good idea at the time. It wasn’t though. In fact, it quickly became apparent that it was one of the worst ideas I’d ever had. As soon as the chilli started taking effect, I thought my time had come. It wasn’t just hot, it was unpleasant. I couldn’t see for the tears and breathing became tricky. Then it started burning. I had never tasted anything quite so incendiary in all my young life. It went on for an age.
Sadly, spitting it out didn’t help. Water didn’t help. Dialling 999 didn’t help. I learnt that day that when you’re stupid enough to crunch through a jalapeño you are pretty much on your own afterwards. Put it this way, the thing that makes chilli hot is capsaicin, which is also used in pepper spray. Yes, that’s right. A component of this food is sometimes used by the authorities in riot control situations.
Yet used in the right way — that is to say not by 18-year-old males in a ridiculous game of dare — chilli is an essential ingredient found in most kitchen cupboards. You don’t have to use it for heat; you can rely on it for flavour too. Come on, is there anything more deliciously intense than chilli con carne or a curry?
The heat in a chilli is concentrated in the membranes surrounding the seeds, so if you’re preparing a curry and want to make it extra hot, bung the whole lot in. If you don’t, then scrape out the seeds and the membranes but don’t touch your eyes — or, um, anything else — afterwards by mistake. It smarts.
So with the nights drawing in and with winter on its way, I thought this might be a good time to concentrate on something warming; and chilli is being used, right now, by Yorkshire companies in fabulously inventive and tasty ways. Here are six of my favourites...
This is a regular at food festivals and farmers markets and available via various stockists across the county — and no wonder. The Chilli Jam man (aka Simon Barrett) makes some seriously fantastic chilli products, including ginger chilli jam, garlic chilli jam and hot smoky bhut chilli jam. There are loads more besides, so check out his website for details.
Smoked Chilli Mustard
Made with chipotle — aka smoked chillies — this is a great accompaniment for those who like their food to come with a kick. Chilli heaven doesn’t stop there. Bracken Hill also produce a tomato and chilli chutney and a chilli jelly.
Guppy’s: Hint of Chilli Extra Dark Chocolate Bar
Made in small batches (by hand and with considerable love), York-based Guppy’s produce a dark chocolate bar with a hint of chilli. It works brilliantly.
Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil with Chilli
Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil, based in Thixendale, don’t just make chilli oil (fab for stir fries), they make a lovely smoked chilli dressing too.
Dinebox: Red Canyon Chili Kit
Dinebox, based in Holmfirth, produce a terrific array of spice kits and seasoning blends. I found this out when I picked up one of their pocket Red Canyon Chili kits at the Malton Food Festival in May (where did summer go?). It’s an ingenious, smoky way to make Tex-Mex chicken or enchilada sauce.
Hot Apple Chutney
A winner from Masham-based Rosebud Preserves who also make a red tomato and chilli jam and a gorgeous aubergine and chilli pickle.