31st July & 1st August 2021
It's going to be a scorcher - the 10th Great Dorset Chilli Festival
Sadly the Covid-19 pandemic meant we had to cancel the 2020 festival, but we hope to be back in 2021 when we will be able to celebrate our 10th anniversary. Many people think we are the best chilli festival in the UK, and we've recently been shortlisted in the UK Festival Awards 2019 in the "Best Non-Music Festival" category. Plans for 2021 are for a weekend-long chilli-con-carne cook-off, run by the UK Chilli Cook-off Association, open to pre-registered teams to battle it out for the the title of 2021 UK Chilli Masters.. We'll have the chilli plant growing competitions, chilli pepper growing competitions, and chilli sauce competitions too! This is sure to be a great day out for chilli enthusiasts, food lovers and families. So if you enjoy the sensation of steam coming out of your ears then this is the Chilli Festival for you! We have some of the country’s most respected chilli companies showcasing their plants, seeds and condiments; chutneys, hot sauces, chilli chocolate, relishes, pickles and oils.
Speak to the experts and discover how to cook with chillies and which chillies to use that won’t blow your head off. The stallholders all love chillies and will be only too pleased to talk to you.
BUT if you don’t like it hot there’s plenty of choice from the stallholders for the less robust palette. Artisan bakers, cheeses, brownies, jams, garlic, Spanish charcuterie, Somerset charcuterie, chilli ginger beer, Dorset ice cream, wooden boards and smart kitchen knives for chilli-chopping, ironwork, ethnic clothes and bags, ceramics, gin and jewellery......
In 2019 we hosted a very special event, organised by the UK Chilli Cook-off Assocaition. The UKCCA Grand Masters cookoff show-cased the best chilli teams in the country in a weekend-long event that truly determined who is the best chilli chef in the UK. On the Saturday, teams were asked to cook a "chilli verde", which is a green pork, chicken or vegetable chilli. The chilli verde was judged by the public as well as the main judging team. After the chilli verde round, teams were asked to come up with a unique dish that showcases the team's cooking and presentation skills in the "Chef's Choice" category. On Sunday, teams cooked the traditional red chilli which again was judged by the public as well as the main judging team. The team with the highest score over the weekend was crowned the 2019 UK Chilli Masters and a prize pot of £1000. Congratulations to the Wonkey Donkeys in 1st place, with The Geek and the Greek taking 2nd place and Pork This way taking 3rd.
Festival visitors were able to buy a spoon for charity to sample all the entries! Limited number of spoons available!
If you would like some more information or would like to enter the cookoff in 2021, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Delicious things to eat and drink
We'll have great street food, Thai curries, Caribbean curries, Indian curry, , falafels, low 'n' slow pulled pork, lamb burgers, chilli burgers, seafood, crêpes, bratwurst, lots of food with/without chilli and giant paellas will all be on offer but if it’s simply a delicious burger or wood fired pizza that you crave then you’ll be well-catered for. There will selection of award-winning local beers, ales and cider to calm the tingling tongue. We’ll even have chilli cider, but if all you need is ice cold lager, we’ve got that too.
Chilli Sauce Competition
Make your vote count! A chance to taste artisan chilli sauces, chutneys and jams made by the stall holders themselves. Vote for your favourite. It's sauces on Saturday, chutneys and jams on Sunday.
Chilli Plant & Pepper Competitions - ONLINE for 2020
Open to anyone who grows their own chillies for pleasure, a chance to show off your best plants to a panel of expert judges. We will run a virtual competition over Facebook with entries welcome on Saturday 1st August. The 2020 competition is sponsored by Simpson's Seeds, Sea Spring Seeds and Stewarts Garden Centres. There will be 2 classes: Class 1 is open to plants of the one variety (the 2020 variety is "Calico, a bushy variety with variagated leaves) so everyone starts with an even playing field. Class 2 is an open class, for any variety, pot grown in the 2020 growing season. To enter contestants should keep an eye on our facebook page and this website for updates. PLEASE READ THE RULES BEFORE YOU ENTER!
Class 1: Plant: Capsicum annuum "Calico" chilli plant (grown in a pot max 3 litre)
Class 2: Plant: any variety chilli plant, in any size pot.
To enter, take a 10 second video of your plant from the pot to the tip to show structure, health, athetics and yield, and add it to the dedicated thread on Facebook (thread is not yet started!)
Chilli Plant Competition Rules
Chilli Eating Competitions
A highlight of the day, we'll hold a chilli eating competition at 4.00pm each day. Crazy contestants are invited to apply by email to us 2 weeks before the event, so keep an eye on this page or our Facebook page.
Not all the food and samples at the Festival will be chillified, so there will be plenty of choice when it comes to lunch. There will also be bouncy castles, Head Turners Face Painters, Mere Down Falconry, fossil painting for children. There is also a family shelter tent where you can find some shelter to have lunch or create a base for your family to meet up.
Plant / Shopping Crèche
If you’ve bought a chilli plant or two, or restocked your supply of great chilli sauces, why not take advantage of our Shopping Crèche? Look out for the crèche gazebo where you can leave your purchases safely in exchange for a small charitable donation.
Talks and Cooking Demonstrations
in 2019 we had a variety of ‘cooking with chilli demonstrations’ from some of our local leading chefs such as Masterchef 2009 Mat Follas, well-known Dorset chef Mark Hartstone, healthy living chef Grace Ekall and Indian-recipe expert Sarah Ali Choudhury. If chilli-growing is your thing, then the talks by our chilli experts Joy Michaud of Sea Spring Seeds and Matt Simpson of Simpsons Seeds were at full capacity. We also had top scientist Dr Tim Woodman giving a fascinating insight in to his work on capsaicin for medical purposes.
Cooking demonstrations are brought to us by top local chefs. See programme.
This is a specialist food festival, not a music festival! But if you like a bit of music in the background we have some great acts. In 2019, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival we were delighted to welcome Creedence Clearwater Review on Saturday, plus local legends the Mother Ukers. On Sunday we had The Orange Circus (Celtic/bluegrass/alt-country) and TexMex tequila rock and boogie band Snake Oil. Also for your listening pleasure (where they heck did that phrase come from?!) we had the famous Mexican Mariachi trio, guaranteed to put a smile on your face, and Big Joe Bone playing his blues/roots/bluegrass beside the cider tent all weekend.
Frequently asked questions:
When does the festival open and close?
Gates usually open at 10am on both days with last entry at 4.30pm. Please follow festival road signs that will direct you to the festival car parks.
Can I bring my dog to the festival?
Friendly dogs are welcome at the festival providing they are kept on a lead and are well behaved. Please do not leave your dog in your car for any reason. Should your dog constantly bark or anyone any other festival goers you will be asked to leave.
Can I pay by credit or debit card at the festival?
Hopefully, yes. It depends on the signal at our new venue (tbc).
Is camping available?
There is no public camping on site. Please see the below links for some local accommodation sites you could try for availability, as well as some local taxi companies.
Is there disabled parking?
Yes disabled parking is available.
Are there disabled facilities?
Yes we provide disabled toilet facilities.
Is there a reduced rate for disabled people?
The Great Dorset Chilli Festival does not wish to discriminate against visitors with disabilities therefore the full admission rate will be charged.
Can I grow chilli plants in May?
Chilli seeds are best planted in January or February, but you can plant them as late as March and April. They take a while to become established, but chilli plants like warm weather and good sunlight. If you want to sow seeds now in May the plant will grow, but will be reaching maturity later in the summer. If we have a sunny September you will get fruit, but as the days get cooler and shorter consider bringing your chilli plant inside.
Is the Dorset Chilli Festival going ahead this year?
We are planning to run the Great Dorset Chilli Festival on 31st July & 1st August 2021
Programme Of Events
2019 EVENT PROGRAMME
Voting for the chilli sauce competition commences
|10:00||Entries taken for chilli plant & pepper competition|
|11:00||Cook-off starts: chile verde|
|11:15||Talk on chillies:
|11:15||Music tent: The Mother Ukers
|12:00||Cooking Demo: Mark Hartstone, La Fosse: 3 quick spicy starters
|12:30||Music: The Mother Ukers
|13:15||Cooking Demo: Grace Ekall - Spicy red kidney beans in tomato sauce served with fried plantain.
|13:45||Music tent: Creedence Clearwater Review
|14:15||Chilli Talk: Joy Michaud - top ten tips for growing chillies
|14:30||Falconry Flying Display|
|15:00||Chilli Talk: Matt Simpson - a broad history of the myth and folklore of chillies
|Cook-off: chile verde turn-in|
|15:00||Music: Creedence Clearwater Review
|15:30||Chilli Plant & Pepper competition judging|
|16:00||Chilli Eating competition|
|16:00||Chilli Plant and chilli sauce winners announced|
|17:00||Cook-off: chef's choice turn-in|
Voting for the Chilli condiment competition commences
|11:15||Music: The Orange Circus - bluegrass/alt-country
|Cooking demo: Mat Follas, Masterchef 2009|
|11:30||Chilli cook-off competition begins|
|12:00||Chilli talk: Dr Tim Woodman - medicinal properties of chillies
|12:30||Music: The Orange Circus, bluegrass/alt-country
|13:00||Cooking demo: Sarah Ali Choudhury - easy Indian cookery|
|13:45||Music: Snake Oil Band - TexMex rock n boogie
|14:00||Cooking demo: Mark Hartstone, La Fosse - 3 quick spicy starters|
|14:30||Falconry Flying Display on the lawn|
|15:00||Music: Snake Oil Band - TexMex rock n boogie
|15:00||Chilli Talk: Joy Michaud - top ten tips for growing chillies
|15:30||Chilli cook-off competition judging|
|16:00||Winners of cook-off and chilli condiment competition announced|
|16:00||Chilli Eating competition.|
Please note that final programme is subject to change.