The advent of the summer (finally) isn’t the only thing that’s warm about Birmingham at the moment, as last week saw the return of the Birmingham Chilli Festival.
Held in the vibrant Brindleyplace and sponsored by Aston Manor Cider, the Chilli festival brought producers of everything from chilli sauces and relishes to cake and even cola to the heart of Birmingham.
I went down on Friday after work to sample the wares, and to say that the festival was an explosion of colour as well as flavour is an understatement! The place was buzzing, as was the food! Brindleyplace residents and streetfood supremos were all serving delicious dishes, however, the real stars of this show were the producers.
I’ve been a huge fan of Pip’s Hot Sauces since I discovered them at Brum Yum Yum streetfood market in Kings Heath, and every time I see her out and about she’s got a new creation. This time it was the Nagatropolis, made with fiery ghost chillies, certainly not for the feint hearted (or stomached…). Grim Reaper foods also impressed me with their huge range of chilli based products, including traditional oils and sauces, as well as some unconventional chilli mustards and chocolates.
The Cheshire Cheese Company were showcasing their range of gourmet cheeses, including a garlic and chilli variety that was mild and flavoursome, and had just enough kick, and The Baking House Wife’s rum and chilli cake was absolutely beautiful, but my ultimate favourite creation was Cola Rebell chilli cola. Made with 100% natural ingredients and a huge caffeine hit, this cola is flavoured with chilli and ginger which leaves a pleasantly warm sensation as it goes down. I tried both the Balance and Maxx versions, both of which were lovely and refreshing, but Maxx was definitely the one for me. So much more exciting than bog standard cola. I wasn’t quite brave enough to enter the chilli eating contest on Saturday though… probably for the best!
All in all, the Chilli Festival is a fab event, whether you’re into super spicy suppers or just great local produce. Here’s to next year!