It’s Time for Chile Peppers!!
Posted October 5, 2009on:
Last Saturday, I attended the Chile Pepper Festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. The day started off with strong rain showers making the ground at the gardens soft and muddy. As we arrived (I went with my boyfriend who is a big fan of all things spicy!), we searched for signs that the festival was still going on and we soon found our way to the Chocolate Chile Cabana. This muddy field was full of different vendors offering up samples of their spicy & sweet treats. I sampled some delicious treats from Berkshire Bark, Kumquat Cupcakery, Fine & Raw Chocolate, and Vere Chocolate. While wandering around I was able to enjoy the sounds of a live bluegrass band playing in the background.
Once I made my way to sample all the lovely treats, I returned to my favorites and made a few purchases. The Chipotle Chocoalte Truffle from Fine & Raw chocolate had a rich, smooth texture that is characteristic of all high-quality truffles. The unique thing about this truffle was the delicious smoky, piquant flavor offered by the chipotle. I also purchased a bar which had cacao nibs throughout for that genuine chocolate flavor. At Vere Chocolate, I sampled the Cayenne & Cacao Nibs Organic Chocolate Bar as well as the Mint & Nibs Organic Chocolate Bar. When I went back to buy a bar of the Cayenne & Cacao bar, I was given more samples of the mint & nibs bar as well as their Tangerine Organic Chocolate Bar. I didn’t try the tangerine organic chocolate bar since I really hate the flavors of orange and chocolate together, but my boyfriend happily took that bar home! I was very glad however to have the mint on hand! And you’ll soon know why!
After sampling all the sweet treats we continued on through the gardens and discovered another tent with live music playing! This tent had all the hot food at the event. There was every kind of chili imaginable, Texas Chili, Brooklyn Chili and even an Indian Style Chili. There was also Gumbo and more desserts! Since we had our fill of sweets we went right for one of the hot, spicy dishes, but were unsure of which to get. My boyfriend got the gumbo and I got the Texas Chili (with cheese!), and of course, we each tried both! The gumbo was hearty and flavorful–a perfect way to get through a damp rainy day actually! The Texas Chili was a mixture of beef and pork chunks cooked with different beans (I noticed white and red beans) and many different seasonings. My boyfriend pointed out the presence of at least three different peppers, a jalapeño, a red pepper and of course some cayenne pepper. I merely noticed that it was very hot, but also very delicious.
After we had washed down our Chilis with some beer, we then proceeded to look through the other parts of the gardens. The rain had let up and so we felt we could roam about a bit more. We found a library where they featured books on gardening and on display, were books all on the care and maintenance of chile peppers. We also found an area featuring clay pots for sale. We had unfortunately, missed the chef’s demo. And of course we happily found more vendors offering up samples!
The first thing we saw were hot sauces. Finally! Hot sauces at the Chile Pepper festival! Since the table was inundated with people trying all the samples, we went for the one where there were the fewest people waiting, only to discover that it was the HOTTEST sauce! It was also extremely delicious! This sauce was a blend of heat and spice that was mildly painful but extremely enjoyable. The bite from the pepper in the sauce was strong, but the sweetness from the pineapple used in the sauce was a delicious complement. I now regret that I did not buy the Pyro Pineapple Ha Ha Hotsauce since it’s one of the few hot sauces I’ve ever tried that truly lives up to its name! (If anyone knows where I can find this in NYC, please let me know!) Of course it was after a few bites of this sauce that I was very glad to have some of that mint cacao chocolate to sooth the fire in my mouth! I did want more, but I knew that without some dairy nearby, I might be asking for trouble, so I moved on to try some of the other delicious offerings. The pomegranate chutney had a sweet and fresh flavor which made me instantly think I’d love it on a braised chicken dish or roasted lamb. The pickles, were crunchy, dill bites of goodness.
As I made my way through the botanical gardens toward my car, I realized I had a truly enjoyable day! The rain was merely an inconvenience as many people were wet, but we were all happy to enjoy all the different treats as well as soak in the beautiful natural surroundings.