Feeling hot, hot, hot…

Tesco has launched the world’s hottest chilli pepper according to the Guinness Book Of Records, measuring an average 1.5 million Scoville.

‘Carolina Reaper’ is now being commercially grown in the UK for the first time ever and goes on sale exclusively at more than 130 selected branches of the supermarket chain across the UK from tomorrow (Wednesday, July 20).

The Scoville scale is a measure of the ‘hotness’ of a chilli pepper. To give some idea of the phenomenal heat: it is about more than 400 times hotter than a jalapeno, the chilli pepper commonly used in spicy takeaways and on pizzas.

Tesco chilli pepper buyer Phoebe Burgess said: “The Carolina Reaper is absolute meltdown material – it’s one for absolute hot food connoisseurs.

Despite it being astonishingly hot it, also has a wonderful fruity taste. Only a sliver is needed to add exciting flavour to your favourite curry.

“Last year the Komodo Dragon [which has a 1.4 million Scoville heat rating] became our most popular chilli pepper ever, and since then we’ve been inundated with requests from customers to see if we could go one better. Thanks to the fantastic growing skills of our chilli producer, we’ve done that.”

The Carolina Reaper is grown by the UK’s largest producer of chilli peppers, Salvatore Genovese, whose seven acre farm is based at Blunham in Bedfordshire.

He started growing chilli peppers 15 years ago after he took over his parents’ cucumber business. Since then chilli peppers have become so popular that he now grows about one million, or 15 tonnes, each week just to satisfy UK demand.

Salvatore said: “Chilli pepper culture has become very popular in the UK over the last five years and on the back of the acclaim I’ve received from supplying Tesco, I now get requests from all over the world.

“The fantastic success of the Komodo Dragon proves that Brits are among the world’s greatest lovers of chilli peppers. But I wonder if the Carolina Reaper will test British palates just a touch too much?”  

The Carolina Reaper will cost £1 for a packet containing two to three chilli peppers.


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