Heat up your next meal with the HOTTEST PEPPERS AROUND THE WORLD
Peppers are featured in nearly every world cuisine and certain types of peppers are often what give a dish its unique character. Pepper aficionados can be found on every continent, sharing their passion through their recipes. In fact, an entire culture has sprung up around hot sauces, which represent a varied palette of flavors from sweetly mild to scorchingly hot on the Scoville scale, a measurement of spiciness for chili peppers and other spicy foods.
The Carolina Reaper is one of the world’s hottest chili peppers, measuring over 1.6 million on the Scoville scale. The pepper was developed by Ed Currie founder of Pucker Butt Pepper Company, who grows many of the world’s hottest peppers in his South Carolina greenhouse. The pepper leads with a hint of sweetness before delivering a mouth-scorching heat.
Where to try: Nashville-style hot chicken has become a bonafide foodie sensation in recent years. The XX Hot Chicken at Pepperfire in Nashville, Tennessee gets its heat from Carolina Reaper peppers. pepperfirehotchicken.com
Where to buy: Products featuring the Carolina Reaper are available at Ed Currie’s Pucker Butt Pepper Company. puckerbuttpeppercompany.com
The tiny Ají Charapita is a pea-sized yellow chili pepper that grows in the jungles of Peru. The pepper has a rating of around 50,000 Scoville units (similar in heat to a cayenne pepper), which means it is best used for cooking rather than eating raw. The Ají Charapita has citrusy notes and is often used in salsas. Online rumors assert that the Ají Charapita was once the world’s most expensive pepper.
Where to try: Astrid & Gaston, one of Lima’s top restaurants, combines traditional flavors with the latest haute cuisine and is famed for its ceviche flavored with local peppers. astridygaston.com
Where to buy: Grow your own Ají Charapita in a container garden. Seeds are widely available. bohicapepperhut.com/products/aji-charapita-seeds
The smoky Urfa Biber pepper has a rich deep maroon color and a raisin-like multilayered flavor. Also known as Isot peppers, they are dried in a multistage process that includes wrapping the peppers at night to help them retain their natural oils. Frequently used in Turkish recipes, the Urfa Biber’s complex flavor profile lends itself to both sweet and savory dishes.
Where to try: In Istanbul, chef Mehmet Gürs is on a mission to promote Turkey’s culinary heritage at his restaurant, Mikla. miklarestaurant.com/en
Where to buy: Urfa Biber can be widely found, it’s recommended that the spice be kept in the refrigerator. silkroadspices.ca
The Aleppo pepper takes its name from the Syrian city where it was originally grown. Also known as the Halaby pepper, this chile is deseeded and sundried before being coarsely ground. It adds a mild heat and piquant earthiness to sauces and spice rubs. The long conflict in Syria has made getting true Aleppo peppers challenging, but specialty spice stores still source the pepper from Syrian suppliers.
Where to try: Many refugees from Syria have settled in Toronto, Canada bringing their cuisine with them. Try the Aleppo Muhamara at Zezafoun, a restaurant serving up authentic Syrian food in the heart of Midtown. zezafoun.ca
Where to buy: Spice Station imports directly from Syria. spicestationsilverlake.com
To read the article in its entirety, check out the March 2019 issue of Luxury Portfolio magazine.