Right in the middle of the warmest spell of weather this year, UK food fans are bracing their tastebuds for a fiery blast.
The Carolina Reaper, the hottest pepper in the world, goes on sale in Tesco today (Wednesday).
The Carolina Reaper is absolute meltdown material – it’s one for absolute hot food connoisseurs
Indeed, it’s so hot that it appears in the Guinness Book of Records, and customers are advised to wear gloves when preparing it.
The Carolina Reaper is rated at 1.5m on the Scoville scale – the official measurement unit of a chilli’s raw power. However, another test has it at a colossal 2.2m.
By way of comparison, a jalapeño - one of those nippy little peppers you possibly pick off your nachos - weighs in at a mere 3,500. The Scotch bonnet, which was once feared by all but the most committed chilli fans, has a rating of 350,000 Scoville units, at most a quarter of the new champion’s strength.
Until recently, the most powerful pepper was the Komodo Dragon - launched last year, again by Tesco, its Scoville rating is 1.4m units. Despite its strength, it has become the supermarket’s most popular chilli.
A specialist farm in Blunham, Bedfordshire is supplying the supermarket, the first time the pepper has been grown commercially in the UK.
Tesco chilli pepper buyer Phoebe Burgess said: “The Carolina Reaper is absolute meltdown material – it’s one for absolute hot food connoisseurs.
“Despite it being astonishingly hot it also has a wonderful fruity taste. Only a sliver is needed to add exciting flavour to your favourite curry.”
But grower Salvatore Genovese added: “The fantastic success of the Komodo Dragon proved that Brits are among the world’s greatest lovers of chilli peppers. But I wonder if the Carolina Reaper will test British palates just a touch too much?”