Snapshot Saturday: Danger! Death by chilli

M. Chilli’s chillies

When we lived in France, the easiest way to persuade a French friend that you did not have their interests at heart was to produce a spiced dish, especially one with chillies in.

‘Oh, we love spicy food’, declared Henri and Brigitte when we broached the subject of cooking them a curry.  All the same, we were careful.  We dished up a korma so mild that it barely qualified as spiced at all.  ‘Ouf!’ exclaimed Henri, after the first tentative mouthful – ‘are you trying to kill us?’

With this in mind, it was a huge surprise to us when one Friday in Lavelanet market, we came upon a man with a stall full of chillies.  Orange chillies, yellow chillies, green chillies, purple chillies, fresh chillies, dried chillies.  He had no customers at all.  So he had time to chat to us, and explained that he’d come to love chillies, and to be passionate about seeking out new varieties, growing and using them.  He was one of two such growers in France.  We bought from him.  He had other English customers.  The French?  Not so much.


Jean Philippe Turpin and his stall at Mirepoix market.

That was five years ago.  After relying on northern Europeans to bail him out, slowly but surely he started to attract a few French customers too.  He’s still in business.  Perhaps, despite the danger represented by a Red Savina chilli rated 500,000 on the Scoville scale, he hasn’t managed to kill anybody off yet.

M. Chilli’s smallholding, devoted exclusively to chillies, chillies, and more chillies.

 

This post responds to this week’s WordPress photo challenge: ‘Danger!’

 

40 thoughts on “Snapshot Saturday: Danger! Death by chilli”

  1. I think one’s palate gets acclimatised … having been brought up near Birmingham and its curry houses I thought I was au fait with spicy food until I met my future husband and his chilli con carne blew my head off. Now we’re pretty much on a par for heat tolerance, but I made a mild curry for a very English friend not long ago and sweat sprang out on his forehead. 🙂

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      1. I’ve never really understood why vindaloo in some Indian restaurants is so hot, when I’ve cooked it at home from authentic recipes it really isn’t blow-your-head-off. I suspect it’s a subtle revenge for some of the more yobbish behaviour they experience.

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      2. I’m sure you’re right. I’ve never investigated vindaloo – not even sure which region it comes from. You’ve piqued my curiosity. I’m off to find out.

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      3. I did do the homework, and found the same. The recipe I looked at seemed quite complicated – well, one not to charge at without reading through first anyway.

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  2. Interesting how palates and tastes differ. I had not thought about chillies not being mainstream in France. Here in South Africa, with a strong South Indian cooking influence, we like our curries hot – what is considered to be mild here, is considered to be dangerously hot by many visitors. I enjoyed your pics. Chillies are so fabulously vibrant in colour too.

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    1. We’re pretty courageous spice lovers in the UK too – again the influence of the Indian sub continent over many decades. You’re right, chillies look so vibrant they entice the diner too. Well, this one anyway.

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  3. There are some pretty fiery little beasts out there – if a habenero is now rated as mild – and a red savina, or even the blistering Carolina Reaper way up on the scale, then heaven help us! There is something though that is addictive about hot food, maybe all those endorphines?!

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  4. I like your dangerous Chili’s Margaret. I grow my own, but basically just the cayenne variety. Dried and then crushed into powder. Potent stuff.

    Cheers,

    Frank

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    1. THAT I can eat…. 🙂 But in homeopathic quantities, which is a blessing as I can, (I’m a Swiss individual!!!) easily eat a whole tablet of 100grms all on my own!!!!

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  5. I’m afraid to say I just can’t eat chillis, even mild ones. I don’t like the taste, I can’t cope with the sensation and my insides react rather badly. I have tried different types on numerous occasions but its no good 😦

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  6. I’m also NOT sharp on chillies-and I have the very same story to tell about a South African friend, married to a Swiss man, who cooked for us a chilli which they considered as a ‘non chilli chilli’ – and I got nearly killed 🙂 I see myself still choking and turning purple – my throat’s skin coming off and worse….. still can’t ‘do’ them – sadly!!!! 🙂

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  7. Curried anything is my favourite meal and I grew up eating it very hot. My first husband hated any heat so I got away from the heat. Now I’m back and just spent time in Mexico where the chilli variety is amazing and HOT.
    Great post.

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  8. LOL I absolutely love uber-spicy dishes. When we were in Thailand they kept wanting to serve us Americanized dishes and we kept telling them we wanted Thai-hot. I suspect it really WOULD kill a Frenchman who tried to eat meals that spicy!!!

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