Chilli-ing out... and turning up the heat!

Chilli Fest UK in St John's Square
Chilli Fest UK in St John's Square
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Shoppers in Blackpool had the chance to test their tastebuds by sampling some of the best and hottest chilli products around.

The seven-hour event, organised by Blackpool BID, took place in St John’s Square on Saturday with people arriving from as far as London and Edinburgh to set up chilli-dedicated stalls.

Chilli Fest UK in St John's Square.  Chris Jones from The French Flavour chats to customer Laura Owen.

Chilli Fest UK in St John's Square. Chris Jones from The French Flavour chats to customer Laura Owen.

Spice enthusiasts had the chance to try chilli-based jams, pastes, nougats, pickles, chocolates and even chilli-flavoured booze.

Organiser Alexander Mustang was bringing the festival back to the town for the third time.

Alexander said: “The day has gone very well, there has been a steady flow of people arriving throughout the day.

“It’s not just local people who come to these events, we have a strong hardcore fan base.

“There is one lady who travels up and down the country and comes to every one so she can stock up on the dips she wants.”

Tom Morris, 34, from Marton, said: “I’m always looking to make my food as hot as possible, I do enjoy the taste and flavour associated with hot food but I have to admit that the bravado which comes eating the hottest food has a part to play.”

Jason Chester, 32, travelled from Bolton for the festival.

He said: “I came last year and really enjoyed the unique takes that many stalls had on chilli.

“There are nougats, chocolates, dips to go with the chilli itself for people to try, everyone is very friendly and enjoying themselves.”

Chilli Fest UK has been going since 2010 and Alexander originally started the festival as a favour to a friend.

Alexander said: “My friend is an events co-ordinator for their local council in the south east of England and he asked for an idea for an event that would lift up the local economy.

“The first event went so well that I spent the next several months putting together a plan to carry it on. Since then we have not looked back.”

After initially just acting as a co-ordinator by bringing various chilli sellers together, the stalls that joined the roadshow inspired Alexander to incorporate his own with the help of his mum.

Known as Aunty Jee, she has been cooking all her life and has even had comedian Omid Djalili taste her impressive range of chilli-based dishes.