The 15th Annual Chile Pepper Fiesta

Brooklyn’s Petro’s Banner at the 15th Annual Chile Pepper Fiesta

I’m exhausted. First came the 7th Annual International Pickle Day Festival on the Lower East Side. Then the Brooklyn Botanic Garden held their 15th Annual Chile Pepper Fiesta on Sunday. What’s a girl supposed to do with all these pickles and chile peppers begging for attention? I decided to bring in the reinforcements: Jim’s parents, who were visiting from Pittsburgh for the weekend. The group of us (Jim included, of course) made quite an impressive chile pepper squad.

We headed straight for the tasting area at Magnolia Plaza. There was no time to waste, as we had some serious eating to do before the 4 o’clock Steelers game. (In retrospect, we probably should have skipped the game. What an ugly loss…)

Brooklyn made a strong hot sauce showing, just as it did among the vendors at the Pickle Festival. Brooklyn Petro, a four-month-old hot sauce company based in a Park Slope apartment, was a festival newcomer and my personal favorite. They also had the best logo (pictured above). I tried their smoky Exhaust brew, while my father-in-law, intrepid food warrior that he is, asked for the hottest sauce on hand. I told you he was brave. (Dad, are you ok? Just checking.)

I also tasted some sweetly spicy pomegranate and cranberry chutneys from the Bombay Emerald Chutney Company, followed by Guyank Brand’s amazing sweet pea hush puppies. They came topped with a delicious sweet-hot pepper sauce that made my stomach dance a high-speed jig.Aji Dolce Chiles from Eckerton Hill Farms

Because chile peppers are often used in pickling, there was a bit of overlap with vendors from the Pickle Festival a few weeks before. What this meant for me is that I was finally able to try Rick’s Picks Phat Beets. I had been too full to even think about eating them at the Pickle Festival, but fate finally brought us together again on Sunday. They were worth the wait.

We ended our chile pepper adventure by observing a fascinating demonstration on pickling by Lauren from Rick’s Picks. We also tasted some heat-infused, crunchy Aji Dolce chile peppers (pictured above). With all this talk of pickling lately, it has definitely been added to my list of future food projects. But for now, my stomach needs a break from these spicy food festivals.

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