- Educating customers about the virtues of chilli allows some lesser known facts to come to light..
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Did you know that chillies are used to scare elephants away from crops in Africa and Asia? Or that dairy products (like cheese, yoghurt or milk) are the best remedies for cooling your mouth? Even the differences in preparing chilli in a meal differ worldwide, as Steve Waters, director of the South Devon Chilli Farm Shop, discusses: “An interesting point to make is that in the UK, chilli tends to be used for the heat aspect of a meal (for example, in a curry). It’s used to provide colour and heat and is added to the meal afterwards. Whereas in other parts of the world, other ingredients are added to the chilli. It’s the other way round, and complements the flavour.”
An important fact about chillies is that they have healthy and beneficial properties. Steve Waters says that chillies contain more vitamin C per gram than oranges, while Emma Macdonald, founder of The Bay Tree says that chilli has actually been proven to boost the metabolism: “Due to a compound called capsaicin, chilli increases heat and calories burned in your body.”
There are some interesting combinations worth trying out too, as Marcus Bradford, operations director of Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop explains: “Chilli and egg work really well together. I recommend stirring a spoonful of Gran Luchito Smoked Chilli Paste into scrambled eggs. The smokiness adds an extra layer of flavour. In my opinion this is one of the best chilli products on the market. I also love to dip homemade chips into Gran Luchito Smoked Chilli Mayo.”
There is much potential in chilli, and with further education about this sector, the way in which these products are regarded could change in the future. “There is still a lot to be done about getting some of those flavours into products that can then be used in staple meals in the UK,” says Steve Waters. “I believe that appreciation of chilli will become that bit more refined in the future. Just like coffee, people will also have a greater appreciation of the different varieties out there.”