Great dorset chilli festival

Great dorset chilli festival

2nd and 3rd August

It’s going to be a scorcher – the fourth Dorset Chilli Festival

After the success of an amazing 3rd Dorset Chilli Festival last year, we’re delighted to be back at St Giles Park for another scorcher of a weekend. Back this year is the chilli-con-carne cook-off, run by the UK Chilli Cook-off Association, open to pre-registered teams to battle it out for the Dorset title and a place at the national finals. This is sure to be a great day out for chilli enthusiasts, food lovers and families. So if you enjoy the sensation of steam coming out of your ears then this is the Chilli Festival for you! We have some of the country’s most respected chilli companies showcasing their plants, seeds and condiments; chutneys, hot sauces, chilli chocolate, relishes, pickles and oils.

Speak to the experts and discover how to cook with chillies and which chillies to use that won’t blow your head off. The stallholders all love chillies and will be only too pleased to talk to you.

BUT if you don’t like it hot there’s plenty of choice from the stallholders for the less robust palette. Artisan bakers, cheeses, chocolates, jams, garlic, Spanish charcuterie, Dorset-made ginger beer, Dorset ice cream.

Great dorset chilli festival

Chilli Cook-Off

Run by the UK Chilli Cook-off Association, in aid of the children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent. This is your chance to compete against other teams to make the best gallon of chilli-con-carne. All preparation and cooking to be done onsite: you have 4 hrs to achieve perfection before judging. Takes place on Sunday only.  To register your team Festival visitors can buy a spoon for charity to sample all the entires!

Great dorset chilli festival

Delicious things to eat and drink

Mexican street food, enchiladas, wraps, Thai curries, Caribbean jerk chicken, wood oven pizza, giant paellas will all be on offer but if it’s simply a delicious burger that you crave then you’ll be well-catered for. There will selection of award-winning local beers, ales and cider to calm the tingling tongue. We’ll even have chilli cider, but if all you need is ice cold lager, we’ve got that too.

Great dorset chilli festival

Best Sauce Competition

Make your vote count! A chance to taste artisan chilli sauces, chutneys and jams from the stall holders themselves and vote for your favourite.

Great dorset chilli festival

Chilli Plant Competition

Open to anyone who grows their own chillies for pleasure, a chance to show off your best plants to a panel of expert judges. Saturday only. There are 2 classes: Class 1 will be open to NuMex Twilight plants only, so everyone starts with the same variety. Class 2 is an open class, for any variety, pot grown this year. To enter bring your plant along on Saturday 2nd August before 2pm.  Judging will start at 3.30pm

Great dorset chilli festival

Chilli Eating Competition

Not for the squeamish but too much fun to miss out on! Entries will open 2 weeks before the event. Keep an eye on our Facebook page. Saturday and Sunday at 4.00pm.

Great dorset chilli festival


Not all the food and samples at the Festival will be chillified, so there will be plenty of choice when it comes to lunch. There will also be bouncy castles, Head Turners Face Painters, horse and carriage rides and Alfredo the Magician.

Great dorset chilli festival

Plant / Shopping Crèche

If you’ve bought a chilli plant or two, or restocked your supply of great chilli sauces, why not take advantage of our Shopping Crèche? Look out for our gazebo where you can leave your purchases safely in exchange for a small charitable donation, you can also buy a bottle of water there and even give your dog a drink. Run by us, collecting donations for Cash For Kids charity which supports local children in need.

Great dorset chilli festival

Talks and Cooking Demonstrations

Expert chilli growers and sauce makers will be sharing their knowledge with you, as well as a variety of ‘cooking with chilli demonstrations’ from some of our local leading chefs.

Great dorset chilli festival


This is a specialist food festival, not a music festival! But if you like a bit of music in the background we have some great acts.

Great dorset chilli festival

Treefrog Climbing

This year we are delighted to welcome back Treefrog Climbing who will strap you into a harness and help you climb to the top of one of the Park’s majestic trees, in complete safety.

Hertfordshire chilli festival 2014

Hertfordshire chilli festival 2014






DATE: 26TH & 27TH JULY 2014











Bushey Sports Club

Aldenham Road,

Bushey, Hertfordshire

WD23 2TR




By Road:

Please visit Google maps and input your post code then destination  post code” WD23 2TR” and you will have a detailed direction layout to the event.


Venue borders London, road access to venue is very accessible.


By train: Please ask British Rail, but nearest station is Bushey railway station


Parking: Parking is provided by the venue up to 5000 cars, Parking charge applies only for entrance to event. It is advised to pack your cars up with people when coming to this event.

Growing super hots in the garden

Thought id do a little experiment, as we all know super hots love greenhouses and pollytunnels, but what about a few months in the ground during the summer months in Grantham lincs?

Growing super hots in the garden

Stay tuned……

Stoing chillis

Storing chillis

How to dry chillis:
Dehydration is the quickest way to dry chillis as they are 92% water so dried chillis weigh a let less and can be kept for a year without losing there flavour. Dehydrators can be bought online, I bought mine from a well known tv channel for about £30. The beauty of dehydrators is that you can also dry most fruits.

Air drying:
Most people just string up fresh chillis and let mother nature do the rest, this is the simplest way of drying chillis but the longest. The skin of the chilli is watertight so to speed up the process make some holes in the chillis to let the moisture out. If the weather is warm and dry leaving the chillis outside will speed up the process this is called sun drying, although with the weather in the UK not being great sun drying is used more abroad.

Oven drying:
A simple yet effective way to dry your chillis is in the oven. Make sure your oven is on its lowest setting, and leave the door slightly open Keep your eye on them as you don’t wan’t to cook them, a fan oven is best. To speed up this process you might want to consider cutting your chillis in half.

How to rehydrate chilis:
To rehydrate your chillis, just place them in a bowl of warm water for an hour, they will soak up all the moisture they need, they will not look like they did on the plant, but will be better added to food this way in my opinion.

How to make your own chilli powder:
Make sure that your chillis are crispy dry before you start, this will ensure better results, you can use a pestle and mortar, but I use a little handheld blender which can be bought from most cook shops. Then just simply store in a jar to be used at any time.

How to pickle chillis:
One of my favourite ways is to pickle chillis. There are many ways but for me just keep it simple, I use kilner jars but any airtight jar can be used. Make sure that the jar is clean and sterilised. Wash your chillis first then make a few holes in them if you wish to help speed up the pickling process, then place in the jar. I add pickling spices but these are not essential, cover the chillis is distilled vinegar and close the lid. Job done, the pickling process will take 2-3 weeks, but the longer you leave them the better. Why not pickle some eggs or beetroot and add some chillis to spice it up!

How to freeze chillis:
A simple way to store chillies is just to pop them in the freezer, but a better way is the blitz the chillis in a blender and pour the mix into ice cube trays, that way when heat is needed just pop a chilli ice cube out the freezer and add it to your food…..simple.

Alcohol and chillis:
Something I have stumbled upon recently is adding chillis to alcohol . My advice is not to use expensive stuff!! Just simply pop a chilli into your favourite bottle of tipple and shake, leave for a few days then try some….very nice on a winters evening!

Chilli scoville scale

Wave your curser over the pods

A little out of date but this chilli scoville scale is pretty cool, i like the way this tells you about the chillis.