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Back at the new venue of Stock Gaylard Deer Park, near Sturminster Newton, with over 120 tradestands, the Great Dorset Chilli Festival is set to be the hottest weekend this summer. Locals and visitors will be able to visit the 2 day food festival celebrating the world of chilli peppers, from growing chilli plants and sampling chilli sauces, to enjoying spicy international street food and of course watching the chilli eating competition. However it’s not just chillies, so if spice isn’t your thing there is plenty of artisan food shopping to be done, plus homewares such as hand-painted ceramics to watercolours for the kitchen, to leathercraft and beautifully crafted wooden chopping boards. Much of the food available to take home or enjoy for lunch focusses on flavour rather than chilli heat.
One of the highlights of the festival is The UK Chilli Cook-off Association’s National Grand Masters chilli cook-off , showcasing the best chilli teams in the country in a competition that will truly determine who is the best chilli chef in the UK. With a new feature this year, on the Saturday teams will be asked to cook a curry. On Sunday, teams will be cooking the traditional red chilli. On both days the curry/chilli will be judged by the public as well as the main judging team. Festival visitors can buy a spoon for charity to sample all the entries, but need to be quick as there a limited number of spoons available!
Chilli eating competitions
Videos of the Great Dorset Chilli Eating Competitions have racked up millions of views on Youtube, but nothing compares to the atmosphere of watching it live. Often dubbed as the highlight of the day, the Chilli Eating Competition will be testing the limits of even the most hardened chilli-heads. Brave competitors will subject themselves to rounds of increasingly hot chillies, which they have to consume in their entirety before they progress to the next round. The last man or woman standing will be crowned the winner. Willing volunteers need to email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an application form ahead of the event.
Fresh from performing at Glastonbury, bluegrass band Old Baby Mackerel will be singing about whisky, railroads and heartbreak on Saturday as will tex-mex rock ‘n’ boogie band Snake Oil, with Dorset bands The Mother Ukers and The Jimmy Hillbillies performing on Sunday. Buskers beside the cider tent are Big Joe Bone on Saturday and Rob Berry Blues on Sunday.
2023 line-up to be confirmed. Dorset chefs such as Mark Hartstone of La Fosse in Cranborne and Mat Follas (Masterchef 2009 winner) were seen turning up the heat in the kitchen last year. We also had a guest appearance by Sue Stoneman, BBQ maestro, who showed visitors how to bake chilli brownies and Atomic Buffalo Turds on a barbecue.
Talks on Growing Chillies
Everyone seems to have a chilli plant on their windowsill these days. Hear from the experts the top tips for getting the best from your chilli plants, with Joy Michaud who created the super-hot Dorset Naga, and Matt Simpson who was featured in the Daily Mail shouted curses at his plants to make them hotter!
Come and watch the amazing birds of prey flying displays at 2.30pm each afternoon, or try your hand at some circus skills. We’ll have fire shows, bouncy castles, mini quad bike ‘train’ rides, and facepainting, you can even have your caricature drawn.
For ticket info see www.GreatDorsetChilliFestival.co.uk
10am-5pm Saturday 5th Sunday 6th August
Well behaved dogs on leads welcome