OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the bank holiday Monday, my boyfriend and I jumped on our bikes and cycled to the Benington Lordship Gardens. The annual chili festival was on and so we went to get a fix of the hot stuff. Very hot stuff! I am not very good with spicy food (I had one free sample called the “Queen Nagar” and was trying to cool my throat for the next 20 minutes) but my boyfriend loves it. If we go out for a curry, he’ll get something hot, I’ll have a Korma (not very adventurous!). So he decided this year that he would sign up for the chili eating competition, along with another 11 slightly insane people.

Until the time of the competition we wandered round the stalls, where they sell everything chili, cheese, chocolate, beer, jewellery, seeds, peppers, sauces, oils, the list goes on. We went round tasting free samples before heading to get some food. Since we were off to Morocco in two days time, we decided to get in the mood with a Moroccan Harissa chicken flatbread each. It was the same thing we had eaten the year before but it was still just as good as I remembered. After lunch we headed to the big lawn to find a seat for me to watch the competition from and then my boyfriend took to the stage.

In the competition each contestant is given a chili which they hold above their head to signify they are ready before “3…, 2…, 1…, CHEW” then they have to eat their chili, chewing the whole thing. In front of them sits a cup of beer tempting them with the opportunity to cool their taste buds, but as soon as they drink their beer they are out of the running. The chili’s get hotter each round and the state of the contestants gets steadily worse, noses run, eyes water, a couple were even sick this year. My boyfriend managed to survive four rounds of chili, making him the 7th out of the 12 contestants to admit defeat. In the end the final two guys left, called it a tie and both walked away with half the prize crate of beer. Having put himself through the competition once, my boyfriend is in no hurry to do it again and I am not sure I will ever feel the need to sign up.

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