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

10 bars in new york city to get a spicy cocktail

Now that summer is over, light and fruity flavors are going out of season. With the Fall comes the smell of cinnamon, a chill in the air, and the need for some spice. So when the temperature goes down, head over to one of these 10 New York City bars to get your body temperature up with a spicy cocktail.

304 E. 6th St., East Village

Come here for the Stone Raft Cocktail, a mixture of Tequila, Mezcal, Amontillado Sherry, Agave Nectar, Celery Bitter, and of course, Jalapeños. This cocktail is guaranteed to make you sweat.

Barrio Chino
253 Broome St., Lower East Side

Habañero-lovers should come to this bar for two reasons. First, the Habañero-Infused Grapefruit Margarita which mixes Habañero-Infused Tequila with grapefruit juice and comes in a sugar-rimmed glass. Looking for something a little less sweet? They also have a Habañero-Infused Lime Margarita.

Death and Company
433 E. 6th St., East Village

This place has an two amazing cocktails that are sure to get your heart racing. For those who like their martinis shaken, try the Southern Exposure Cocktail, a mix of Jalapeño-Infused Chinaco Blanco Tequila, Sombra Mezcal, fresh squeezed lime juice, Petit Cane Syrup, fresh red pepper puree, and kosher salt. If you would rather have your martini stirred, opt for the Yama Blanca, which mixes Centinela Reposado Tequila, Jalapeño-Infused Chinaco Blanco Tequila, Blanc Vermouth, and Velvet Falernum.

Fatty Cue
91 S. 6th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Get the Smokin Bone! A blend of homemade smoked pineapple syrup, Bourbon, lime, a blend of chocolate bitters from Fee Brothers and Bittermans, and, the best part, Tabasco.

The Smith
55 Third Ave., East Village

The name of their heat-inducing concoction, Angry Apple, immediately brings to mind an image of Fall on fire. This fiery recipe mixes vodka, fresh apple, Jalapeño, apple liqueur, and lemon, for a sweet and spicy balance.

Dos Caminos
675 Hudson St., Meatpacking District

The Cosmo, a usually sweet and sugary drink, gets set on fire in the Cosmo Del Diablo, a mix of Skyy Vodka infused with five chiles, pineapple, and passion fruit.

33 Ave. B, Alphabet City

Most people love a good Margarita, but how about one with a kick to it? The Jalapeño Margarita here is a blend of Jalapeño-infused tequila, house-made sour mix, fresh lime, triple sec, and a splash of orange juice.

Rosa Mexicano
9 E. 18th St., Union Square

If you want something with just a bit of spice, try the Guayaba Limonada, made with Cruzan Guava Rum, lime juice, and a bit of Habañero-lime syrup. To kick it up a notch, opt for the En Fuego, a spicy mix of Cachaca (Brazilian rum), orange juice, lime juice, and shaken with diced Jalapeños. Ouch!

Prune Restaurant
54 E. 1st St., East Village

With their own special menu just for Bloody Mary’s, this restaurant can make your drink as hot as you like. The Southwest Bloody Mary uses Herradura Anejo Tequila, limes, and smoked chipotle peppers. Or, if you’re in the mood for more of a spicy barbeque flavor, order a Green Lake Bloody Mary, which blends Absolut Vokda, wasabi, and beef jerky.

Killer Chili

The Times has a sad story of a young British man who died in his sleep after eating some Chili sauce as part of a dare.

The 33 year old man had prepared the chili sauce using peppers from a family garden, and challenged his brother to see who could eat the concoction.

Before going to bed, he started to have a bad reaction to the sauce, and by morning, he was dead. Toxicology reports are being conducted to determine the exact cause of death.

The “hotness” level of food is determined by the Scoville scale which measures the amount of dilution required until the heat can no longer be detected. At 1,040,000, the Bhut Jolokia Chili is the hottest thing you can find in nature (up to 400 times hotter than your average Jalapeño pepper). When it comes to bottled products, “The Source” is without a doubt the hottest thing you can find (over 7 million Scoville units). Products like this require you to sign a waiver, and they are only used as an ingredient for large batches of food, not as a sauce for pouring on your steak.