Tesco unleashes U.K.'s hottest chilli pepper
The major U.K. supermarket chain says the Komodo Dragon chilli pepper, grown in the eastern English county of Bedfordshire, measures up to an excruciating 1.4 million Scoville units.
In comparison, jalapeno peppers measure 3,500 Scovilles, while the very hot Scotch Bonnet is rated as up to 350,000 Scovilles.
"In recent years we’ve had the fearsome Dorset Naga, the searing Bhut Jolokia and the mouth-numbing Trinidad Scorpion," Tesco chilli pepper buyer Eleanor Mansell said.
"But they all pale in comparison to the UK’s latest commercially grown chilli pepper – the mighty Komodo Dragon which puts the others in the shade."
She added the Komodo Dragon was also unusual because it had a delayed reaction that "lulls you into a sense of false security."
"At first you can taste a wonderful hot fruitiness but then after about 10 seconds the full might of this little demon hits you and your whole mouth is aglow," Mansell said.
"This is definitely a chilli pepper for connoisseurs and for those who are experienced in eating really, superhot food."
The Komodo Dragon was grown by the U.K.’s largest producer of chillies, Salvatore Genovese, on his seven-acre Bedfordshire farm.
Genovese only started growing chilli peppers 15 years ago after he took over his parents' cucumber business.
Since then chilli peppers have become so popular that Salvatore now grows about one million, or 15 metric tons (MT), each week just to satisfy U.K. demand.
"Chilli peppers have really grown in popularity over the last 10 years and feature strongly in a lot of the UK’s favourite dishes – from curries, Thai and Chinese food, Mexican cuisine as well as pizzas," Genovese said
"But it’s the really hot ones that gain the most interest and so each year I try and grow one hotter than the last. I have chilli heads, as they’re known, contacting me from all over the world asking for samples.
"The Komodo Dragon should be livening up meal times over the coming months. I’d seriously advise anyone not experienced in eating really hot chilli peppers to have some milk or yoghurt ready as a standby to douse the flames!"
The chilli peppers will be available through the end of November.