Hot Stuff from Hampshire

Hot Stuff from Hampshire

The hot sauce craze is building strength in Hampshire and includes Hampshire Fare members creating hot sauces that can be used to give many favourites a fiery kick - from barbecues to pasta and even your lunchtime sandwiches!

On team spice are two north Hampshire-based producers, Hornet Chilli and Plot 34A Chillis who are both creating a selection of fresh, fiery, flavoursome and innovative sauces using natural and local ingredients whenever possible. They have recently returned from the National Chilli Awards 2024 with a stash of awards between them.

Bruce Ansell, owner, Hornet Chilli, started growing chillis just three years ago and is now hooked. In the National Chilli Awards 2024, Hornet Chilli won Gold and was named Category Winner for Aleppo Stinger Honey in the Sweet Chilli Sauce Category. Hornet Chilli also picked up Silver for Lemon Gochujang in the Asian Style Chilli Sauce Category and  Bronze for Cherry Blaze (a flavour explosion of fire and fruit) in the Fruit Based Chilli Sauce Category.

Bruce Ansell, Hornet Chilli, said: “I am delighted with the results. This is the second year running we have won a gold medal and a category. This time our Aleppo Hot Honey using locally produced honey has romped in. We entered three products and swept the board with a gold, silver and bronze!"

Steve Gibbs, owner, Plot34A Chillis, admits to having been a ‘chilli head’ since he has his first bite of a chilli aged about ten. What started out as a hobby has now turned into a business. He first made a Bajan hot sauce, created by looking up the ingredients of a favourite sauce that friends had brought back from Barbados. After trying out sauces on family and friends he took them to the local pub where the landlord used them for his burger shack. The rest, as they always say, is history.

In the National Chilli Awards 2024, Plot34A Chillis achieved Silver and a haul of seven Bronze awards! The Silver was in the Garlic Chilli Sauce Category for Vampire Slayer - a slow cooked garlic sauce with a smoky paprika and chipotle kick, and added depth from bay, balsamic vinegar, ginger and rosemary.

The Bronzes were for: Honey Heatwave – a sweet, sticky yet spicy Sweet Chilli Sauce using local honey; Korean Gochugaru BBQ sauce; Red Devil Spicy Sauce in the Chilli Ketchup Category; Fiery Naga Ghost in the Hot Chilli Sauce Category; Cowboy Candy (aka candied jalapenos) in the Chilli Chutney Category; Royal Tantrum containing scotch bonnet, pineapple and ginger delivering a sweet, hot and fiery kick; and last but certainly not least, Krampus in the Extra Hot Category – heat level ten out of ten! You have been warned.

Steve Gibbs, Plot 34A Chillis, said: "I only entered the National Chilli Awards for a bit of fun, and I am really pleased with the results, particularly as I entered eight products and received eight awards! I now make over 25 sauces as everyone likes something different… although lots of people go for the hottest ones!”

Hampshire's chilli heads are certainly turning up the heat!

Main picture supplied by Hornet Chilli; picture of hot sauces (below) supplied by Plot 34A Chillis