17 January 2022

Gold Creek to host the inaugural Canberra Chilli Festival

| Max O'Driscoll
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Canberra Chilli and Hot Sauces store in Gold Creek

Eric Bailey owns the Canberra Chilli and Hot Sauces store in Gold Creek. Photo: Supplied.

Can Canberrans handle the heat?

The Canberra Chilli Festival is set to bring some spice to the ACT, with Gold Creek’s Federation Square serving as its inaugural host.

Organiser Eric Bailey is the owner of the Canberra Chilli and Hot Sauces Store, and he says that it’s been a long time coming, but local chilli lovers are finally getting a Chilli Festival.

“[Chilli fans] been trying to find a way to get a festival here in Canberra and, knowing that I run a chilli shop, they asked me, and I thought, why not?” said Mr Bailey. “I had a look around and there’s no festival like it in Canberra.”

The festival will run from 5 to 6 February 2022 and could feature as many as 34 different stalls. However, the central attraction will undoubtedly be the challenges being held over both days.

The first event will be The Chilli Munch. This is the traditional chilli-eating challenge. Contestants will start with something mild and work their way up to the fearsome Carolina Reaper.

Kids can participate in The Fruit Bowl challenge and Burning Sensations for Canberra Chilli and Hot Sauces.

The Australian Extreme Meatball Challenge by Australian Extreme Chilli Condiments is not for the faint of heart – this event has hospitalised people around the country, so would-be contestants are advised to deeply consider how comfortable they are with hot food before entering.

The Grand Finale Titan Challenge will see the best performing contestants face-off in one final eye-watering, sweat-inducing battle.

While this may have those not-so chilli inclined turning away, Mr Bailey says there’ll be plenty to do for people of all chilli-eating abilities.

“It’s not just for people who can eat chillis and the hot stuff, there’s a range, so a majority of the stalls will be chilli stalls, but each producer has a range of mild through to hot and extreme.

“I’m also organising a few small food stalls with things like hot wings and a few other different things, and I’ve got a few kids challenges and face painting, so there’s a bit of something for everyone,” said Mr Bailey.

It will be free to enter and with the prime Gold Creek location, patrons are being encouraged to make a day of their trip and try some of the nearby activities such as mini-golf and the dinosaur museum.

If interested in running a stall, contact Mr Bailey through the Canberra Chilli Festival Facebook page.

Original Article published by Max O’Driscoll on Riotact.

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This sounds great. I am just wondering if there is going to be a chilli cookoff competition similar to the chilli cookoffs in the United States. This is where contestants cook chilli from start to finish using their ‘secret’ recipe. All ingredients should be fresh, that is, onions and meat. There are ground rules, for example, beef is used, but not mince meat, and definitely not beans. The chilli (stews for want of a better word) are blind-judged by about 6 people at the end of the day, on their taste, heat, colour, tenderness, appearance, etc. – the winner does not necessarily have the hottest chilli. Each contestant can have a ‘chilli name’, dress up (if they wish), decorate their table, etc. anything. 1st, 2nd, 3rd prizes are awarded. It’s a load of fun! Forgive me if you are aware of the U.S. chilli cookoffs. They are a big event, hosted by different towns in different states culminating in the winners (those who have attained 10 points by with their winning chillis throughout the year) cooking off for the championship somewhere in the middle of Texas. I’m not suggesting this should happen but it’s just a thought.

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