Our sauces are internet famous
HOW did a chilli farm nestled in rural Wiltshire see one of their hot sauces tasted by A-list celebrities in front of an internet audience of more than 71 million people in 2019? I visited the production line at source to find out.
As I pulled up the drive of the quaint house in Whitley near Melksham, I thought I may have the wrong address. Thankfully I saw the large shed behind the house – Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s operations base.
The spice specialists found fame online as their Trinidad Scorpion sauce featured on popular YouTube series Hot Ones, where celebrities field questions while eating progressively hotter chicken wings.
Wiltshire Chilli Farm showed off the sauce on season 9 of the show, from creators First We Feast, which was seen by 71.3m viewers. World-famous actors Idris Elba and Halle Berry, as well as wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin, were among those who struggled to keep their cool while sampling the Wiltshire spice.
I spoke to grower and cook Simon Morgan about how the company’s hot sauces found fame in America.
He told me: “We tour all over the country and sell out sauces at markets and conventions.
“The researchers at Hot Ones, including the host Sean Evans, came to a market we were doing in London. They tried our sauce and decided they’d like to order it to use on the show.
“We are the first British sauce to go on Hot Ones, which is a massive honour. We also advertise the fact we were on the show on our stalls. It’s really good for business, lots of people come up to us who have watched it.
“Seeing Steve Austin struggle on our sauce was brilliant. It proves that it must be really hot! He’s certainly a tough guy.
“The quote I thought was the best of any of the celebrities’ was Idris Elba when he said ‘it’s good tasting too’. That was important to us because our goal is to make our sauces actually taste good as well as being spicy. If they’re just spicy then what’s the point?”
Taste good they certainly do. Simon was kind enough to let me try some of their best-selling sauces.
First I sampled the not-so-spicy Mango Chilli sauce, a tasty combination of habanero chillies and mango.
It was my favourite of the three I tried – mainly because I’m a sucker for mango.
Upping the heat somewhat, I tried the ‘extreme’ Naga sauce, made with garlic and the tongue-burning naga chilli. It was safe to say I definitely felt the spice on that one.
Finally, I had to try the Trinidad Scorpion sauce which burned the mouths of so many celebrities. At first the sauce just offers a lovely sweet taste. But don’t be fooled, you’re soon hit by a tidal wave of tastebud-destroying heat. I felt that burn in my chest for the rest of the day.
So where does a rural chilli farm go after getting their brand known across the world? By doing what they’ve been doing, says Simon.
He continued: “We ship all across the world. We have distributors in America and Australia as well.
“We purposely make mild and hot sauces so that there’s something for everyone and we just want to keep doing our thing. We’re also proud to use no plastic in our packaging.”
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