2014 Sawtell Chilli Festival

2014 Sawtell Chilli Festival

Nothing brings the Coffs Coast residents out like a good food festival. The Sawtell Chilli Festival just celebrated it’s 16th year and was bigger and better than ever!

There was something for everyone on Sawtell’s main street yesterday. The Chilli Festival is a real family affair, with rides for the little ones, entertainment at both ends of the street and some very tasty treats in between.

Tar 10

Tar 10

Each year Hubby and I take the opportunity to visit the tasting stands and try some of the new and interesting products.  The condiments at the Tar 10 stall were delicious.  We eventually purchased some fruit preserves to serve on cheese platters.  My favourite was the Sticky Fig which won a gold medal at the 2012 Fine Food Awards.

Crowley's Hot Sauce

Crowley’s Hot Sauce

Events like this are an important outlet for fledgling companies to introduce their products to the public. It was great to see such a diverse range of chilli products at the festival.

The Crowley’s Hot sauces were another favourite.  The range was rated by the heat of the chilli.  The sauces starting in the pleasure range and worked up to the pain end of the spectrum.  My favourite here was the “Smoke and Fire” sauce which was rated 7/10.  It had a delicious smokey BBQ flavour.

The Chilli Factory

The Chilli Factory

The Chilli Factory was another stand with some seriously hot and tasty chilli sauces. I am proud to say that even Locky tried the hottest of their sauces. Although I don’t think it would be an everyday sauce for him. My favourite here was the satay sauce as it had a lovely flavour and a nice heat.

Chilli Oils & Vinegars

Chilli Oils & Vinegars

Sawtell had arranged the perfect weather for this outdoor event.  The winter sun was out, and everyone seemed to be enjoying the Chilli Festival atmosphere.

Chilli Plant @ Sawtell Chilli Festival

Chilli Plant @ Sawtell Chilli Festival

Holding the event in Sawtell’s main cafe and restaurant precinct meant there were plenty of food options.  Festival goers could choose from street vendors selling delicious chilli dishes, or the local cafes who had also got into the Chilli Festival swing. Plenty of people were choosing a spot at the cafes with a comfortable chair as a place to stop and watch the busy street activities.

Local Chef Joel the Smiling Chilli Clown

Local Chef Joel the Smiling Chilli Clown

Although we had enjoyed some chilli tasting it was time for something a little more substantial. Local chef Joel McCulla from Zulu’s Restaurant had a rather interesting offering.  A series of benign looking Chilli jars were displayed on the table.  In hindsight I should have realised you never take treats from a laughing clown.

In case you can’t read his shirt the clown is saying “Sadism never tasted so good!”

Lachlan and I sampled the Shetani Chilli.  This harmless looking chilli sauce contains three different chillies to derive maximum flavour and pain to those brave enough to sample.  The flavour was spectacular, so unbelievably tasty.  The burn was equally as spectacular.  Both Locky and I were red faced and burning from all different areas of the mouth. The sauce was made using, ghost chilli, habenero and chocolate scorpions, sounds very deadly!  Thankfully Joel had watermelon on hand for emergencies.

Pulled Chilli Pork Bun w Watermelon Salad

Pulled Chilli Pork Bun w Watermelon Salad

Actually the watermelon was part of the lunch dish Joel was serving. We ordered one of his Pulled Chilli Pork Buns which was presented on a little bunny or mouse roll.  It was so good, Joel has a way of delivering maximum flavour with a quirky twist.

Nachos Man

Nachos Man

It was time to find something for the little ones to eat.  We didn’t have to go far. Nachos is always a safe bet with my kids. I ordered a bean nachos but the kids started to demolish it before any photos could be taken. You will have to trust me that it was good!

Grumpy's Ginger Beer

Grumpy’s Ginger Beer

After all the chilli tasting it was time for a thirst quencher. Hubby spotted a stand selling icy cold ginger beer.  Upon closer investigation we discovered they also had a Chilli Ginger Beer.

Grumpy's Chilli Beer

Grumpy’s Chilli Beer

In keeping with the flavour of the Sawtell Chilli Festival we ordered one of the chilli varieties.  The cool ginger beer was just what we were after, lovely and sweet with a nice chilli heat at the end.

Curry Traders

Curry Traders

Rounding the end of the street we started on the other side of the stands.  There were so many delicious street food stalls and spice blends on this side.

The Spice Trading Company

The Spice Trading Company

I love curries but I always struggle to make an authentic tasting curry.  I have found good spice blends invaluable to achieving the correct flavour.

I took home spice blends from Yumi Spices & Herbs, Curry Traders and the Spice Trading Company.

Chilli Chocolate Balls

Chilli Chocolate Balls

It was Anais that discovered the Chilli Chocolate, and decided it was time to move onto something a little sweeter. Seatonfire Chilli had a range of chilli chocolate to sample.  I bought the Licorice and Lime Chilli Chocolate which was a sublime flavour combination.  I also couldn’t go past these Chilli Chocolate Protein balls which included nuts and date for sweetness.

Greek Dessert Stand

Greek Dessert Stand

Moving past the chocolate we found some Greek desserts.  Here a lively character was offering tastings of Halva.

Chilli Festival Greek Desserts

Chilli Festival Greek Desserts

It’s always the Baclava that turns my head.  There were trays of the sticky, sweet dessert. It was too irresistible, I couldn’t go home without some.

Greek Baclava Trays

Greek Baclava Trays

Nearing the end of the street we decided to stop at Mother’s Milk Stores & Taphouse for a beverage.  Here they were offering two varieties of Chilli beers.

Mother's Milk Stores and Taphouse

Mother’s Milk Stores and Taphouse

Lachlan and I took a seat at the window where we were able to continue our observations of the festival.

Chilli Ginger Beer

Chilli Ginger Beer

Hubby tried the Chilli Ginger Beer first.  It was deliciously cold and refreshing with a full ginger flavour.  The warming heat of the chilli came through after the mouth was emptied.

Chilli Festival Wine at Mother's Milk

Chilli Festival Wine at Mother’s Milk

Meanwhile I enjoyed a lovely chilled Verdelho from their range of organic wines.

Chocolate Chilli Beer

Chocolate Chilli Beer

The Chocolate Chilli beer was Mr GG’s pick of these special edition beers.  A bigger flavour and a more warming chilli effect pushed this beer past the sweeter ginger beer for hubby.

Once again the festival has been a huge success.  Our family certainly made a full day of the event.

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Comments

  1. Awesome, looks like fun. I love a good foodie festival!

  2. This looks like such a great day out indeed Julie, and perfect to counter chilly winter weather! I love the Chilli Factory products, my favourite is the wasabi mustard- so hot, but so good! Xox

  3. Alesah Villalon :

    Wow, what an interesting and fun family event! You learn, you sample, you enjoy, you bond together. I admire Locky for being an explorer and Anais for being a good observer :). I love the photos, as usual! We are mutual in the baklava. I spotted it once in a weekend market and failed to resist it ;).

    I felt I was there the way you presented the story 😉 Love it!

  4. I have been to one chilli festival and it was nothing like this. How inventive some people were. Sounds like you had a great time 🙂

  5. What an amazing event. I love chilli products and the range of foods (and drinks!) on offer here is staggering. I agree that community focused festivals like this have their own appeal too. I’d love to try some chilli ginger beer, even if my husband (usually the ginger beer drinker in this house) would be horrified!

  6. wow, that chilli ginger beer sounds really interesting! actually they all do!

  7. What a fun festival! I can never do without chilli and was panting over a soup tonight but in a happy way. Those chilli beers sound so interesting 🙂

  8. What a great festival and I haven’t heard of one centred around heat before. What a great range of produce all with a bit of a kick. Looks like a great day out and I’m glad your family enjoyed it. I’ve holidayed at Scots Head a few times and we always visited Sawtell xx

  9. Great photos! Looks like the event was fun for all.

  10. Julie, you always make me discover the places and flavours insolites ! My kids will love also the nachos. I would take the chilli pork bun ! Also I would taste the chilli chocolat balls and the chocolat chilli beer! I didn’t know that exist a beer with chocolat, amazing! And of course I would buy a baclava box, I love them ! What a nice festival 😉

  11. We had a chili cookoff in my hometown but not one for chillies. How fun!

  12. I love Sawtell and am often down Coffs Harbour way…and have never been there at the time of the festival! Annoying. I will have to consider timing next year. I’ve heard so much about it, looks fantastic! Thanks Julie.

  13. Love, love, love chillies! What a great event!

  14. What an awesome chili festival – such a variety of items – the only chili festival I have been to had different types of chili made by a variety of people – I did not see “chocolate chili balls” anywhere!!

  15. Looks like the festival was a lot of fun Julie, love events like this!

  16. Sounds like one hot event… boom tish, thank you very much, I’ll be here all week, try the veal.

    Chilli beer.. woah. mind. Blown!

  17. A festival like this is so perfect for winter. Sounds like a lovely outing with family. There’s something for everyone!

  18. Chilli festivals are my favourite! Hot and flavourful, and tearful at times too! Looks like you guys had a great time.

  19. Nice write up. And thanks for stopping by our Crowley’s Hot Sauce stand. Hope you like (and keep liking) our gear. Sawtell for us is the biggest event on our calendar. Sooooo many people, so much fun and in such an awesome location. I think 2014 was the biggest of the big!! Can’t wait to hit it again next year….

    • Thanks Jason, I thought the festival was particularly good this year too. I have some if your sauces I will be featuring in a recipe shortly.

  20. It sounds like a spicy and fun time was had by all.

  21. Chilli heaven! I’m pretty weak with it but I’m a lot better than I used to be. Looks like a great festival 😀

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