Inside Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s annual Chile Pepper Fiesta

Last Saturday, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden held their annual Chile Pepper Fiesta, a mix of music, dancing, beer, chocolate, and, best of all, chile peppers. Being a hot sauce junky myself, I was really excited for my quest around the numerous kimchee and spicy pickle stalls to try to find something that would really make my throat burn.

While the event hosted various educational lectures on green living, gardening, and cooking, the real fun here was the samples. Various spicy dips, vegetables, condiments, salsa’s and more were dispersed around the gardens, allowing for a picturesque setting while you (willingly) set your mouth on fire. Although I can honestly say that there was nothing I didn’t enjoy trying, my top pick for tasty and spicy sauces was Grace Foods. They sell a line of Caribbean-style products, and their Grace Jerk Hot Seasoning, which has hot peppers from Jamaica as well as Scotch Bonnet peppers, was flavorful while creating that intense but enjoyable spice that creeps up on you at the end. Karma Sauce also had an array of sauce flavors to sample, including Good, Bad, Curry, Smokey, and Catsup. The Bad was actually really Good, tasting like a sweet red pepper and then slowly bringing on the heat. I was definitely thankful for the live bands at the event and the beer tent to be able to relax and reset my palate.

While sampling the savory sauces, drinking pumpkin beer, and watching Caribbean dancers made for a great day, the real highlight was in Osbourne Garden, which had been transformed into a Chile Chocolate Wonderland. While I always put hot sauce and peppers on my meals, the concept of mixing chiles with desert was new to me. However, after sampling the various spicy cookies, chile-infused chocolate bars, and pepper-flavored truffles, I was instantly addicted. I also learned there is a demand for spicy chocolate in Brooklyn, New York, as there were tons of chile-chocolate connoisseurs at the event. My absolute favorite treat in this area was, without a doubt, Tumbador Chocolate’s Hot Hot Chocolate. For $1 you could buy a small Dixie cup of the stuff, which was thick and creamy and, of course, spicy.

If you’re in Brooklyn, New York, and want to sample some spicy chocolate of your own, here is a list of excellent places to try:

Tumbador Chocolate
34 34th St., Brooklyn
(718) 788 0200

nunu chocolates
529 Atlantic Ave., between 3rd and 4th Ave., Brooklyn
(917) 776 7102

The Chocolate Room
86 Fifth Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn
(718) 783 2900

269 Court St.,Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
(718) 246 2600

Liddabit Sweets
Check out the Brooklyn Flea Market on Saturdays for their stall at 45 Main St., Brooklyn

Mast Brother’s Chocolate
105A North 3rd St., Brooklyn
(718) 388 2625