Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Some Like It Hot!

I am not a great one for very spicy food. When we moved to Leicester in the mid 90s, Bob was quite excited at the prospect of trying out all the curry houses along the “Golden Mile” in the Asian Quarter of Leicester.

golden mile

Sadly, he is still waiting! If we do go out for a meal, he graciously thinks of my bland palate and opts for somewhere less fiery.

Of late I have been trying to incorporate a little more spiciness into my cooking [it’s all Jamie’s fault] If J’s recipe says two chillies I put in half a VERY mild one, sans seeds.

But now it appears that the hottest chilli in the world has its origins just up the road in Leicestershire! Nick “Woody” Woods was working as a security guard at RAF Cottesmore when he decided he wanted to do something more entrepreneurial. With his wife Zoe, he set up a food company in his home town of Grantham.Fire Foods

fire foods

Nick says “We are a family business from Grantham, everything we sell is homemade using only the finest ingredients. Our passion for chillis has grown beyond all proportion, our life is just chilli chilli chilli, we have a poly tunnel in our garden and grow a few hundred plants every year, not enough to sustain us but we hope one day to have a small holding and grow everything we use.”

Nick and his wife look very happy here

nick and zoe

That’s because one chilli that Nick has developed has just been declared the World’s Hottest, using the Scoville Scale of measurement. Here’s the Infinity Chilli

infinity chilli nick woods

infinity chilli

Tests have revealed the "Infinity Chilli" to have a Scoville Scale Rating of 1,176,182 - hotter than chilli reportedly used in hand grenades by the Indian military.

Why? Why? Why?

Personally I cannot understand the fascination with eating things that make my mouth tingle/sting/burn for ages [and worse!]

Nick himself says on the BBC Website

"I actually ate one yesterday. It was one I'd had frozen from last year - so I thought it wouldn't be as hot as if it was fresh - and I thought I'd try it. It was all a bit worrying. The burn on my tongue lasted half an hour and the effects went on and on. At one point I was doubled over in pain and thinking about ringing the hospital.The worst was over by 11 o'clock, but it wasn't funny."

I am, as Jamie declares ‘a wuss’ when it comes to chillies – but I think I shall stay that way, and leave the super-spiciness to other members of the family.

In case you are wondering – here is the Scoville Scale


I think my limit is around ‘25’ ! where is yours?


  1. Mine is -1. I cannot eat peppers and chillies or the derivatives due to a food intolerance. This doesn't sound too bad until you realise that paprika and cayenne get into all sorts of things - even cough mixture!

    You are so not not a wuss. I just eat kormas (v fattening but yummy) at Asian restaurants. Most decent restaurants have a good range of milder things well worth trying... I am quite happy with a couple of sides rather than a main with a naan or some plain rice.

  2. Like you, I can't bear very fiery food. I can't see the point of burning your mouth!

  3. Pimento is as far as I like to go, though we did have chilies on our chips & cheese at the ballgame on our first date. He thought I liked them so he ate them, and vice versa. We have since straightened out those misunderstandings and do not eat green chilies. But I LOVE mild curries!! ~Liz

  4. 6 years ago my limit may have been 25 too but now I'd probably say around 5,000. I can't say I enjoy the tounge tingling sensation but I can certainly eat much hotter dishes - often I have no choice! When someone complains a dish is too spicy I have been known to reply "spice, what sipce"!
    In fact I occassionally have the opposite problem, I complain when food is too bland!

  5. I love spicy foods but I do not see the point of just tasting the heat and not the food.
    Last year our church held a dinner for Mexican migrant workers;our vicar's wife cut a pile of chillies, without wearing rubber gloves, which burnt her skin so badly she spent the whole night with her hand in a glass of iced water.
    Jane x

  6. I just LOVE hot, spicy food!!!! The hotter, the better!!! :)

  7. I am very impressed with those of you who CAN manage the spice-
    LizBeth- SO glad that you are your beloved have learned to communicate properly now!
    ElizabethT, but I guess that living in India has meant your taste buds have adjusted.
    Jane- you have one very brave [and hard-working] vicar's wife.
    I remain on the side of Catriona and co - meek and mild when it comes to chillies, please.


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