Brooklyn Botanic Garden Hosts Chile Pepper Festival

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden wasn’t just showcasing its fall foliage this weekend. Patrons also came to sample spice as part of the 24th annual Chile Pepper Festival. Our Bree Driscoll brings us the sights and sounds.

Despite gray, cold skies looming overhead, there was no shortage of heat at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Saturday.

“My whole face is on fire,” said one man. “But I like it.”

“I tried the Trinidad Scorpian Pepper,” said another. “It was very hot and I loved every second of it.”

That heat is coming from the sense-searing products that are part of the 24th annual Chile Pepper Festival.

Sixty-two vendors bring the spice in a wide variety of samples.

“We so a jalapeno blended into chocolate,” said Sarah Meyer, owner of Little Bird Curious Confections — and a NY1 employee. “A very fine Belgian blend of chocolate. We have it in milk dark or white with just a touch of sea salt.”

“Back home in Haiti they call it Mamba,” said Pierre Henry, owner of Pierre’s Spicy Peanut Butter. “And I miss it so much I decided I had to create my own spicy peanut butter.”

“We have our Gluten Free Maple Chipotle Donut,” said Erica Fair, owner of Sans Bakery. “We have our Vegan Chocolate Chip with Sriracha Salt and our brownie bites with a spicy caramel sauce.”

There is a little something for everyone.

“People are really developing palates,” said Anita Jacobs, Chile Pepper Festival Director. “Even kids come to this festival and they are ready to try all different kinds of different peppers and all kids of different tastes.”

The festival also features bands playing music from around the world.

“Cajun music gets your feet moving,” said Zack Smith, a member of Pilette’s Ghost. “The chili peppers get your taste buds moving.”

While there is a wide range of products, some are not for the faint of heart like this. If the heat gets to be too much organizers, have this piece of advice.

“Try some milk if that is the closest thing you can get,” said festival director Jacobs. “You could even stick with olive oil, although that is not the most pleasant thing. Don’t do water because that just spreads it all over your mouth and you will be on fire for a real long time.”

But then again, some people like that.

The festival runs until 6 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets cost between $15 and $20.

For more info, check out the botanic garden’s website.

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