Cos Chilli plants are AWESOME!
Seriously – they are the most wonderful houseplants; unlike most edible plants, they’re perfectly at home on your living room windowsill, and unlike most ‘ornamental’ plants, they don’t just look pretty for a month or two then sit doing nothing for the rest of the year. There are literally tens of thousands of different varieties, and they come in all shapes and sizes, from rugby-ball sized to something that could look Clint Eastwood in the eye – all in a matter of months, from a tiny seed.
Their foliage, flowers and fruit come in all the colours of the rainbow, and their gorgeous little star-shaped flowers that come out from May onwards that then turn into fruit after a few weeks; but the flowers and the fruit keep coming right until October; so basically, you get nine awesome months of watching your babies grow, right there in front of your eyes; for about the equivalent cost of a posh packet of crisps…
And of course, you can eat them!
Chilli Capital of Scotland
Sometime early in 2018, just when we were really starting to have fun, someone proposed we assume the title of ‘Chilli Capital of Scotland’. Not for any particular reason, just because no-one had claimed it yet, so…we could! You need something to back a claim up like that though and since then we’ve become a fixture of the Towns summer and autumn calendar;
Every year from June the Chilli Trail comes out – it’s basically as many chillies in as many windows around the high street, with info on each and a trail map to take people round. We also like to pop them anywhere we can get away with – the Town Hall steps, bridge parapets, junction boxes etc. remarkably, no one has complained yet.
In 2018 and 2019, we held a ‘test-fest’ at the Eskdale Cattle Show with chilli displays, tasting, smoker demos and of course the Chilli-eating competition. We were going to have a full-scale Chilli FEST this year; everything was arranged for August Bank Holiday…. you can guess what happened there. But NEXT YEAR! Definitely. We’re going for a world record – most varieties of chilli plant in one room.
Last year we ran a food festival at the Christmas lights switch-on which involved a local celebrity chef tear-gassing a marquee (we had to evacuate it; health and safety!) And then of course there is the Langholm Bonfire, catering courtesy of Chilli Club – bearing in mind the size of the town, selling 500 chilli bowls isn't too shabby. The high point of the entire thing – I mean the Club – was a wee lad coming after we’d ran out and (wobbly bottom lip) “so…there's… no more?”