The Calabrian Chilli (also known as the Devil’s Kiss Chilli because of its devilishly alluring spice level) is actually a variety of pepper from a southern region in Italy called, you guessed it: Calabria. Boasting over 300 sunny days a year, the area’s climate and nutrient-dense clay soil help this blood red beauty thrive. Nestled in the toe of Italy’s boot-shaped border, Calabrian locals even enjoy an annual celebration dedicated to these tiny little heroes called The Peperoncino Festival. In addition to the local vendors, artists and chefs in attendance, visitors flock from all over the world for a taste of this regional icon. We may be biased, but once you experience the flavour for yourself, you’ll likely begin to see why.
While the chilli itself may be small in size, it packs quite the spicy punch! It’s far from a one-trick pony though. A uniquely sweet, salty, earthy, fruity profile makes it the perfect flavour enhancer to sprinkle onto almost any dish, as long as you like it spicy. After all, some do like it hot. Famous for its enticing, complex warmth, Calabrian is also mega rich in vitamin A, B-6 and C. Plus, heart-healthy capsaicin, which some research shows may support gut health & help lower cholesterol levels. We wish being healthy was always this easy.
Traditionally the dried chillies were preserved in fine olive oils, used in local dishes like smoked Nduja sausage, spicy pasta arrabbiata, or mixed with fresh tuna and crispy breadcrumbs. It’s been an essential addition to recipes and global culture for hundreds of years, and we don’t see it making an exit anytime soon. In your own kitchen, why not try a splash of fresh lemon juice and a bold sprinkle of Calabrian chilli on top of your Instagram-worthy homemade avocado toast? We’re obsessed with shaking it onto an Italian cold cut sub with sliced heirloom tomatoes and tangy provolone cheese too. We also suggest adding some spice to your next pasta night by simmering it into a creamy, dreamy vodka sauce with a kick. Hard to go wrong with this versatile and beautiful double threat. The possibilities truly are endless… and yummy.