• Hot Hot Hot: 5 of Europe’s Best Chilli Festivals

    We toured Europe to pick out the best festivals for those that like it hot.

The Lakes Chilli Fest, Cumbria

After a few years’ absence, The Lakes Chilli Fest is returning to Cumbria and promises a weekend packed full of fun, food and fiery flavour.

Playing host to a myriad of contests and an international street market, the event will house over 80 producers selling their spicy specialties and tasty tongue-ticklers, as well as a range of real ale to wash it down with.

Taking place in the gardens of the spectacular Dalemain Mansion House, the event will also showcase live entertainment to relax to as you cool off and take in the view.

The hottest chillis in the world will be gracing the Lake District between 2nd-3rd August 2014.

ChiliFest, Finland

If you didn’t know, it’s pretty nippy over in Finland, so it’s no wonder the locals are massive fans of our fiery friends.

Held every August in Tampere (the third biggest city in the country), chilli zealots from around the world gather to learn how to best use spice in cooking, test their limits with samples of the hottest peppers on the planet, and take in some live, open-air music while they’re at it.

But it’s not just about spice – the entry price is nice too! Absolutely everyone is welcome and attendance to the festival is completely free.

ChiliFest will be turning up the heat between 15th-17th August 2014.

Image via Lorenzo Valente

Diamante Peperoncino Festival, Italy

Set in Calabria, the big toe of the Italian boot, this festival is every bit as elegant and unique as its name suggests.

Diamante, a vibrant but small fisherman’s village, has become a sort of spice seeker’s Mecca, and every September they make a pilgrimage to the area in order to take in the local sights, tastes…and lots and lots of water.

The southern region of Italy has been producing hot and fiery delicacies for centuries and use chillies in everything – from traditional cured meats, to liquor and even ice cream – so it’s fair to say that they know what they’re talking about when it comes to picking the perfect pepper.

Diamante Peperoncino Festival runs from 10th-13th September 2014.

Awesome Scottish Braves Harvest Chilli Festival, Perth

If there’s a bravery contest to be had, you can always bank on the Scots to get involved and, true to form, they’re holding a flaming festival north of the border once again this year.

This September, the Awesome Scottish Braves Harvest Chilli Festival is back by popular demand for the second year running,  and with a line up that boasts a ‘Clash of the Titans Chilli Eating Contest’ and a whole array of mouth-melting munchies to torch the taste buds, the event is not one to be missed.

Set in the grounds of the magnificent Scone Palace, the surroundings will certainly take your breath away – unless the chillies get there first.

Perth will be welcoming red-hot pepper aficionados on the weekend of 20th-21st September 2014.

Creation of the Brotherhood of the Piment d’Espelette

Image via Wikimedia

Piment d’Espelette, France

Nestled deep in the heart of Basque Country, right down in the foothills leading to the Pyrenees, the tiny, rustic village of Espelette welcomes over 20,000 chilli-addicts every year.

The festival is all geared towards one thing: celebrating the Piment d’Espelette, the famous pepper borne of the picturesque region.

With sub-tropical weather that includes generous rainfall and mild temperatures that both aid the growing process, the Espelette has become a real staple of the dinner table in the Basque area, and this festival offers heat lovers the opportunity to enjoy the intense delicacy right at its source.

Piment d’Espelette takes place between 25th-26th October 2014.