Brace yourself for undoubtedly the hottest ticket in town – The Great Dorset Chilli Festival! This two-day chilli fiesta showcases everything from chilli plants to condiments, seeds to ceramics. It’s a veritable extravaganza of cooking demonstrations and growers talks plus artisan food producers, music, spicy street food and, if it all gets a little toasty, plenty of beer and local ice creams to cool you down!
Now in its seventh year, The Great Dorset Chilli Festival attracts thousands of visitors keen to meet and sample the wares of some of the most dedicated independent sauce manufacturers and retailers, chefs and chilli growers around. You’ll find chilli plants, seeds, condiments, chutneys, hot sauces, chilli chocolate, relishes, pickles and oils a-plenty ready to snap up and sample.
If you’re feeling competitive, why not book a place in the chilli-con-carne cook-off (with the Dorset title at stake as well as a place in the national finals). All participants must cook from scratch and are given four hours to cook up a storm! If you’re more about the eating than the cooking, make sure you buy a special tasting spoon to sample all the contenders! There’s also a best sauce competition, chilli pepper growing contest (including prizes for the heaviest, longest, best superhot and most interesting oddity / malformation!) And, of course, the inevitable chilli eating competition!
There are experts on hand to teach you how to cook with chillies and advise which ones to use to give each dish the right kick. If you fancy a break from the heat, you’ll find plenty of other stalls selling artisan breads and pastries, cheeses, chocolates, jams, garlic, Spanish charcuterie and chopping boards, knives, clothes, bags, ceramics, artwork and much more.
There’s lots of entertainment for kids as well as milder food options. If you’ve snapped up a load of chilli plants or bottles and bottles of sauce why not leave them in the ‘Shopping Creche,’ where all your purchases can be safely looked after in return for a small donation to the festival’s chosen charity.