Tesco has responded to a growing demand for super-strength chillies by re-adding three of the world’s hottest peppers to its range. The supermarket giant has seen sales of Scotch Bonnet peppers, a favourite in Caribbean recipes, rocket by around 170 per cent since restaurants closed their doors in March.
Shoppers at Tesco’s UK stores will now be able to buy even fierier varieties; the Carolina Reaper, Komodo Dragon and Armageddon. All three are being grown by Bedfordshire-based chilli farmer Salvatore Genovese, who supplies UK retailers with a million peppers a week.
The Carolina Reaper has been judged the hottest pepper in the world, measuring around 1.5 million units on the Scoville chilli scale – hundreds of times hotter than a jalapeno pepper.
Tesco’s chilli pepper buyer Emily Hampson said: “These super-strong varieties are not for beginners and we advise that only experts who know what they are doing should try them. Despite their ferocious heat, they are becoming more and more popular with UK shoppers. If you have some basic kitchen skills and use just a smidgen with say, some cream, then you can temper the heat to create a vibrant and delicious sauce out of them.”
Mr Genovese, whose family has farmed for generations in the Blunham area of Bedfordshire, turned to commercial chilli growing after graduating from agricultural college. His Armageddon variety is believed to be the hottest originally British-bred chilli.