Saturday, 31 March 2012

Chilli Con Can't Take It Any More!

Okay, let me just start by saying I really do like chilli.

I like most food.  I should look like a space hopper with other space hoppers for limbs by all accounts and the only food I truly don't like - liver - can honestly be called offensive on all accounts; I just have one message for food manufacturers out there...


I realize of course that you may feel this to be least important topic you've ever seen thought about, meandered upon and written about but trust me; it's quite likely that you have a similar niggle.

It seems to me that this trend of infusing everything with chilli started with more obvious foods such as crisps and peanuts.  Fair enough I thought.  At the time of writing I am only in my thirties but tell someone just few years younger that we used to only have ready salted, cheese and onion and salt and vinegar crisps to choose from and the reaction I tend to get falls somewhere between disbelief and sympathy the like of Ethiopia has yet to experience.

Spicy foods have of course become more prevalent over the years in Britain with some declaring that our national dish is now curry.  No specific curry mind, which strikes me as a bit like saying, 'our country's flag will be...rectangular!'

So to come to the crux of the matter one might think that my openness to almost any form of grub would allow for the introduction anywhere of one of my favourite Mexican staples.

Not so.

Some time ago I wandered into a shop called 'Hotel Chocolat'.  You may have seen one yourself.  I believe they are a chain of sorts.  Within I found lots of over-priced but interesting looking products.  The place was a bit clinical for my liking and dare I say pretentious but hey ho; horses for courses and all that.  It was here that I first saw chocolate bars with chopped chillies set into them.  They just sat there sticking out of the chocolate, unwelcome as a pubic louse and as unabashed as Gary Glitter at the Vietnam border.

Soon after other companies tried the same combo and it was at this point I realized I didn't have to get a mortgage only to remortgage it for the buying of an example of this 'treat' and lazy comedic purposes.

The results were not extreme.  There was no coughing up a rainbow in sheer disgust; nor was I struck with repentant realization that I'd been wrong all the time and chilli/chocolate was surely a sign of celestial existence.  To be honest, it was pretty ho-hum.

The thing is we will often see T.V. chefs or food manufacturers putting odd things together because they think they're being quirky or are challenging us conventional plebs.  The fact is though that most ingredients available to us now have been around in one form or another since before we came down from the trees/got told to bugger off after a bout of misguided apple scrumping depending on your belief system.

Just as certain insects and woodland creatures know not to go for certain berries so too do we know that certain foodstuffs just should not get together.

Sure one person might like some strange new cabbage and synthesized pterodactyl crisps and his friend might rightly chide him for his uncouth habits but this hasn't stopped companies from giving us the likes of Strawberry flavoured potato chips and squid gut iced cream - both absolutely real, one of which I've been unwise enough to try.

To be honest though, I'm all for innovation.  I don't hark fondly back at the days when it was chips with everything and there were only two kinds of peanuts.

It's just that sometimes...just sometimes...I quite like things to taste the way I'd initially expected them to.

Plus the second you say you like one thing, that's all the missus bloody buys in, no matter what the format!

NB: At the time of writing Philadelphia had recently released a cheese and chocolate edition of their spread.  If you happen to come across this and are willing to take the plunge, feel free to report back on the mental state its taste/texture/concept left you in.


  1. I have seen this chocolate cheese spread and felt obliged to rub my eyes in Beano cartoon fashion while a big speech bubble appeared above my head with a giant question mark inside.
    Chilli and chocolate have no business being together. The same goes for Pinapple and ham. They should be put together as often as peter sucliffe and a B&Q club card.
    What next, i ask myself - men kissing other men!?!? Its political correctness gone mad.

  2. Spicy foods have of course become more prevalent over the years in Britain with some declaring that our national dish is now curry. No specific curry mind, which strikes me as a bit like saying, 'our country's flag will be...rectangular!'
    This genius piece of writing made me splutter my coffee, all over my keyboard, out of my nose, everything. I shall no longer be able to read anything you write as I now deem it to be dangerously funny and definitely non-PC which is not good for new Californian-non-British persona. Just sayin'

    PS Did you know you can turn off those stupid bloody wiggly words we have to sodding well work out how to type after writing excellent comments??

  3. I am increasingly going for the plainer crisps recently I can't take the amount of flavour sometimes. Give me ready salted any day.
    as for curry well I stick with korma.

  4. That's just plain naaasty.

    I've seen the Philadelphia chocolate and it's impossible for me to understand why anyone would choose to combine the two. I also hate chocolate raisins or peanuts in my chocolate, although I quite like all of them seperately.

    Some things should never mix!