Some like it hot, super hot.
And brave individuals are about to turn out in droves at Perth’s first Harvest the Heat chilli meet in Fremantle next weekend.
They will get up close to the world’s six hottest chillies, all WA grown, and the sauces they have been used to create.
Chilli sauces, plants, seeds, food stalls and a gathering of the “who’s who” of Perth’s chilli scene will be under the one roof for the Saturday afternoon festival at the Sunshine Harvester Works.
Organised by Dingo Sauce Co and WA Chilli Seed Exchange, the event follows the rapid emergence in recent years of a WA artisan hot sauce industry. Small batch sauces are made from locally grown chillies, popular on supermarket shelves and at farmers markets.
Former chef Leigh Nash, who started the Dingo Sauce Co in 2016, said the appetite for spicy foods was growing.
He said sriracha was now the most used condiment in the US, beating ketchup. Tastes in Australia are going the same way, resulting in a growing demand for locally made hot sauces.
“But people are shying away from the big brands in favour of small-batch locally made products,” he said.
“Our customers care about provenance — they want small batch sauces made with local produce, and with a minimal carbon footprint.”
WACSE president Martin Owens said what started as a relatively small sub-culture in WA was now mainstream with pretty much every supermarket now having its own hot sauce section.
Spicy WA business being represented at Harvest the Heat include Dr. Paul’s Hotsauce, Billy’s Bounty, Dingo Sauce Co, Mocojambe, Wildfire, All Burn Chilli, Hellfire Bay, Latasha’s Kitchen, Ol Yella’s, Krunchilli, Rhino Jerky, Sykotic Chillies and the WA Chilli Seed Exchange.
A highlight of the event will be a contest to eat the six hottest chillies in the world.
It culminates with the Carolina Reaper, measuring 2.8 million Scoville heat units.
But contestants will need to sign a waiver before they take part, accepting that the organisers cannot be held responsible for any damage or extreme discomfort.
The chillies in the contest are grown in Carnarvon by Moore Veggies and the Yelash family, who are major suppliers to the WA chilli sauce industry.
*Harvest the Heat, Saturday August 31, 12-5pm at Sunshine Harvester Works, James Street Fremantle. Free entry/BYO.