Hunt is on for chilli champion

Brindleyplace, supported by Broad Street BID, is challenging visitors to take part in a chilli-eating competition as part of the second annual Birmingham Chilli Festival, which returns to the city on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th July.

The red-hot festival is guaranteed to get temperatures rising with a sizzling line up of cooking demonstrations, street entertainment, tango performances and live music. Birmingham Chilli Festival, along with CBD Food Festival in Victoria Square, also taking place on the 13th and 14thJuly, will kick off a week of gastronomic activity as part of this year’s Birmingham Food Fest, supported by festival partners University College Birmingham, venuebirmingham, Broad Street BID, Aston Manor Brewery, Brindleyplace, Colmore Business District and Délice.

The highlight of Birmingham Chilli Festival at 3.30pm on Saturday 14th July will see daredevil participants work their way through 15 different chillies and chilli sauces of increasing strength as part of the hotly anticipated chilli-eating competition. Contestants can expect a hot and spicy menu which includes the Scotch bonnet, dried Naga chilli and the ‘Infinity and Beyond’ chilli sauce made with ‘infinity chillies’ – one of the world’s hottest chilli-peppers which is grown in the Midlands.

23-year-old Philip Myerscough from Kings Heath, runner up in last year’s chilli-eating contest, said:

“Birmingham Chilli Festival is a great event with a fantastic atmosphere. Last year the competition proved too hot for me to handle but I’ve been practising all year and I can’t wait to get stuck into this year’s chilli-eating competition to prove my worth as ‘chilli champion’.”

So far, 14 men have signed up to be in with a chance of knocking last year’s reigning champion Max Naughton off the top spot and be crowned this year’s ‘chilli conqueror’, leaving just one space left in the competition. The winner will receive a meal for two at wagamama, two tickets for Broad Street’s highlight Comedy Club and an overnight bed and breakfast stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Brindleyplace.

Visitors to Birmingham Chilli Festival can also expect a host of stalls offering chilli-related produce and food from across the globe, available to sample on the day. Spice lovers can browse stalls from a range of local producers and businesses including Capsaicinoia, a gift shop in Shirley selling chilli-related produce, Midlands based Trailhead Finefoods, specialising in beef jerky with chilli sauce and Madame Peppers who are based in the Jewellery Quarter and own a chilli farm in Aston. On 14th July a cider and food matching stall will also be run by Aston Manor Brewery, one of the largest independent cider producers in the UK, whose delicious range of ciders are the perfect match for hot and spicy food.

Ailsa Raine, Marketing Executive at Brindleyplace said:

“Birmingham Chilli Festival is a unique event that attracts foodie fans from across the city and the wider region, providing a fantastic launch pad for the wider Birmingham Food Fest. And with a varied and diverse line up of events to come throughout the week, the chilli-eating competition is just one of many hot dates for the diary!”

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services for Visit Birmingham, which is managing Birmingham Food Fest, said:

“Birmingham Food Fest launches on the 13th July with CBD Food Festival and Birmingham Chilli Festival – two exciting events that highlight the diversity of the culinary scene in the city.

“This year’s festival is all about helping people to discover Birmingham’s fantastic foodie offering which boasts over 27 cuisines in the city centre alone. With a range of affordable restaurant promotions and a jam-packed programme of fringe events across the city we hope that visitors will experience a host of new cuisines and restaurants during the week-long celebration.”

On 14th July, Midlands Discovery Tours are hosting a special 90-minute walking tour ‘The City of 1,000 Tastes’. The culinary trail will take people on a tour discovering the great foodie brands established in Birmingham: Cadbury’s, Typhoo Tea, HP Sauce and Bird’s Custard before stopping by the CBD Food Festival and Birmingham Chilli Festival.

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