The Chilli Alchemist – Dec. ’15

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It’s that time of year again when we chilliheads may have to feign a little poise and gratitude. You know it’s coming…that day when you are handed something which you look upon & have to make a quick adjustment to your face to bring on a smile and utter the words ‘thank you’. I’m talking about being given a chilli-themed gift for Christmas!

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The Chilli Alchemist: Nov ’15

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No matter who we meet in life, there’s a good chance we will have something in common. It may be something little such as a favourite pizza topping or type of music, but it’s a shared interest nonetheless. Sometimes, when you have a lot in common with a person, you may strike up a lasting friendship, hang out & take part in a variety of social activities together. We all need friends and relationships and many of us thrive in the right company.

I’ve worked in a number of places during my time on this planet and I’m pleased to have made some friends along the way. Every now & then, I meet up with former colleagues who I considered friends. We drink, chat, catch up and then part ways until the next time (which could be months or even years). My friends in the chilli world are different…

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The Chilli Alchemist: October ’15

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It’s sometimes said that Communism started with four people in a room. The word ‘Communism’ is actually derived from the French word ‘communisme’ which developed out of the Latin words ‘communis’ and ‘isme’, and was in use as a word designating various social situations before it came to be associated with more modern conceptions of an economic and political organization. ‘Communis’ can be translated to “of or for the community” while ‘isme’ is a suffix that indicates the abstraction into a state, condition or action, so ‘communism’ may be interpreted as “the state of being of or for the community”. Now, I’d never describe the UK’s largest free chilli club as a Communist organization in modern terms, far from it, but it did start with four people in a room (by ‘room’, I mean ‘bar’) & it’s definitely “for the community”.
Around 6 years ago, four guys were drinking together in their local bar & looking for something to do on the weekend. After a little discussion & online browsing, they decided to attend an open day at a local nursery that specialized in chilli plants. Within minutes of their arrival, they were smitten with the sheer variety on offer. Up until this point, they had only known of the more common chilli varieties so their trip became an eye-opener & inspiration. The journey back was full of ideas and conversation. It was during this time that the idea for the Clifton Chilli Club was born.

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The Chilli Alchemist

by Jay Webley

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When asked to describe the UK chilli scene, the word that keeps coming to mind is ‘exploded’! During the past few years we Brits have seen a surge of chilli festivals, hot sauce companies, restaurants boasting ‘hot’ or ‘challenge’ dishes, chilli clubs & chilli farms. It doesn’t seem to be slowing down either!
I’ve always been a lover of chilli. Fresh, dried, hot sauce, it’s all good to me! However, until around 7 years ago, I struggled to find a range of any of these products. The ubiquitous Tabasco wasn’t cutting it for me but it was either that or Encona (Caribbean style sauces). Both carry a lot of vinegar & didn’t exactly showcase the flavour of the chillies within. I’d often make my own sauce with a blend of cayenne & naga, but I was convinced there must be more out there somewhere…but where?

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