Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chile Pepper Fiesta!

Last week my husband and I attended the annual Chile Pepper Fiesta at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, described on the garden web site as "New York’s hottest fall tradition." There were many fun events going on at the fiesta and I'd love to show you a few.

There were cooking demos by top NYC chefs. We saw chef Dave Schuttenberg of Cabrito Mexican Restaurant and chef Karthik Kumar of  Brick Lane Curry House Restaurant, and enjoyed samples of their sizzling sauces.  Later, we enjoyed sips of chocolate chile and red pepper flavored beer.

There was also a Chocolate Chile Takedown event, held for an hour and a half, where fiesta visitors were able to sample and vote for their favorite dish out of the following six offerings, all made by Brooklyn chefs:

Chocolate and Chile Beef Dumplings by Greg Erskine
Chile and Chocolate Fudge and Chocolate Milk by Alyson Mance
Chile and Chocolate Icebox Cake by Andrea Lynn
Chile and Chocolate Ice Cream by Chris Greenberg
Chile and Chocolate Fondue and Bacon by Daniel Marino
Chile and Chocolate Chicken Wings by Adrian Ashby

Everything was delicious, and the winner was Greg Erdkine's Chocolate and Chile Beef Dumplings. My husband and my personal favorite was the Chile and Chocolate Fudge, which we thought was fabulous. 

The fiesta was full of stands selling an assortment of products containing chile peppers -- from pickles, chile sauces, Korean kimchi, chocolates, and even frozen ices!

One of the most popular attractions was the booth selling "Bhut Jolokia" from India, which is considered the spiciest pepper in the world!

All through the day seven bands performed, from chili-loving nations around the world, including Indian bhangra and brass, a Haitian dance fete, and Brooklyn’s own Ukulele Gals. There were even fire jugglers and fire eaters!

Of course it was still nice to break away from all the festivities going on and take a stroll through some of the different areas in the garden. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is located on 52 acres, and is home to over 12,000 kinds of plants.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden's recently opened Herb Garden was bright with chile peppers from around the globe. There is a lot of good information on how to grow chile peppers, both in a garden or inside your home and how to preserve a chile harvest for further use on the garden's website.

As you can see in the photo above, pepper plants can be incorporated as an ornamental in a flower garden as well!

The garden was still full of many different beautiful flowers and butterflies, as the autumn weather in New York City has been mild.

These unique woven-wood sculptures titled Natural History were made in honor of Brooklyn Botanic Garden's centennial, by artist Patrick Dougherty, and were on display near Magnolia Plaza. 

Click to enlarge to read more about this artwork and the artist.  Natural History will be on display for the next year, until August 31, 2011.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Chile Pepper Fiesta event turned out to be a wonderful red hot day full of fun, and I hope to attend it again next year!

Are you a chile pepper enthusiast?  What is your favorite way to use hot peppers? If you have a great recipe for chocolate chile fudge please let me know!

I'm linking with Susan of A Southern Daydreamer for her blog's "Outdoor Wednesday" event, and Sue's "Rednesday" on her blog It's A Very Cherry World, and Cathy's "Adventure Express" on her blog A Bit of the Blarney.  Please visit these blogs today and join in all the fun!

I'd also like to congratulate my blog friend, Judy, of My Front Porch,  and the other members of the blog Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog, as they will be professionally publishing a cookbook together of their favorite recipes! Click this link to learn more and also to find a link where you can pre-order the cookbook, which is scheduled to be for sale in June of 2011. I already ordered my copies!  All proceeds from the cookbook will go towards a charity that feeds hungry children. I am so happy for them all and excited to see their dream come true!

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Betsy Banks Adams said...

Only in NYC could people combine chocolate and chili. Holy Cow ---that would never work here in the south... ha ha

Looks like you had a great time... I love Chili --and since I lived in Texas for 12 yrs. I learned to LOVE the real Tex Mex Chili.... These days, I don't eat alot of spicey foods --but I still love homemade chili.

Great photos of the fiesta and the gardens..

Sheila said...

Chili and peppers - such a bright and colorful blog post. It always amazes me how there are very few people at an event like this - or maybe you have a knack for taking shots that cut away the crowds. I can;t wait to add the cookbook to my collection. The idea that group had was fantastic. Sunshine always Pat!

pam said...

What a fun post....great pictures! I have a recipe for Chocolate Chili...when it cools down I will have to give it a try. It seems the older I get the more zip I like in my food!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Sheila I must have a "knack" ...lol...because the crowd estimate I read for the Chile Pepper Fiesta event was that over 10,000 people attended!

Annesphamily said...

I have heard chocolate and chili is a great combo! If oyu travel through New Mexico you will find it more of a staple. Amazing! I love chilies so I grew up eating them and enjoying them in lots of different foods. My late aunt use to cater weddings and political events and she made the best spaghetti My uncle Sam was an Italian man and she learned to cook passionately for him and their family. When we worked at these vents as a kid, she and my mom would often fry a few mild chilies in a little olive oil and then serve it on a piece of fresh baked bread. I still love that today. Thanks for the sweet memories Pat. Anne

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I also have to clear up that the festival was "Chile" Pepper, not "Chili" Pepper -- I made the same mistake at first, and when I researched I found the proper spelling to use was chile.

Live and learn! :) That's what I love about blogging!

Pondside said...

I'm only a moderate chile fan, but i do like it with chocolate and am intrigued at the thought of chile and beer!

A 2 Z said...

WOW! I have a cold now and could use some hot chili chocolate. There is always something wonderful happening in NYC! The sculptures are fascinating. I used to live in Africa and it reminded me of some actual house dwellings I've seen. Fabulous post. Thanks for sharing.


Ginny Hartzler said...

Oh, wow!! I would have loved this!! And you have such a good variety of pictures! I love the purple chili bushes, I never saw purple chilis! My son and DIL were just judges at a chili contest. They has to sample about twenty five chilis and cleanse their palates with sour crean in between. Needless to say, they were not feeling too well at bedtime! The cookbook is interesting, we are Mennonite deacons and my husband is substitute paastor. Our church published a cookbook a few years ago.

Lovella ♥ said...

Thank you so much for the special plug on your blog. .what a kind thing to do.
OH. .about the peppers. .would I ever love to bring my beloved to have a pepper fiesta. .he loves his food with lots of peppers. .

I have you linked on my blog friends page and I'll enjoy visiting you again and again.

Lovella. ..from MGCC

Judy said...

Chili & chocolate...why not? It looks like a fun event to visit...and sample. I love your bright and vibrant photos!

And thanks so much for including our cookbook in your post. I don't think you'll find many chili & chocolate recipes in it...but there are a few others to tickle the tastebuds!

dede leoncedis said...

I miss Brooklyn Botanic Garden!

A Bit of the Blarney said...

Simply grand!!! I can only imagine how much fun this must have been. And the weather!!! It must have been glorious! Thank you! Cathy

Mister Meatball said...

I miss the Garden.

And, yeah, we've made many chocolate cakes/brownies, etc. using hot pepper. Excellent.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a fun festival Pat. I wouldn't have missed a minute of it. Great photos - I felt as if I were there.

Kat said...

Being from Texas, I would have been there in a heartbeat! This looks like such a fun day, and what gorgeous weather for it. I love chocolate and chile together. I was hesitant to try it, but it really does work. My favorite peppers are hatch chiles, roasted and used in salsa. Beautiful photos Pat, thanks for sharing such a fun event. Kat

RNSANE said...

What a wonderful post, Pat, as your alwyas are. This chili festival sounds terrific. I would have loved to attend. I do like hot and spicy foods...but not as hot as my youngest, Jeremy, can eat. There is a Barbados hot sauce that is the hottest I've ever eaten - Scotch bonnet peppers but it sounds like this Indian one is even hotter.

I would have really liked the fudge. One of my favorite chocolate bars is a chili chocolate. Yum, the fudge sounds even better.

RNSANE said...

What a wonderful post, Pat, as your alwyas are. This chili festival sounds terrific. I would have loved to attend. I do like hot and spicy foods...but not as hot as my youngest, Jeremy, can eat. There is a Barbados hot sauce that is the hottest I've ever eaten - Scotch bonnet peppers but it sounds like this Indian one is even hotter.

I would have really liked the fudge. One of my favorite chocolate bars is a chili chocolate. Yum, the fudge sounds even better.

Tracy said...

What a great and HUGE event! The more fiery, the better! VERY tasty & fun post, Pat. I LOVE me some chilies... I like spicy food a lot--be it Tex-Mex, Indian, Thai... mmm... Happy Day, my friend ((HUGS))

Anonymous said...

Looks like a fun event, Pat. I love visiting the Mo Botanical Garden. Always something wonderful to see!

I have heard of combining chocolate and chili.

My grandfather had his own "secret" recipe for chili (con carne). He passed it to me and I've embellished it. His recipe was so delicious, he made the sauce for several Dallas restaurants back in the old days. He prepared it at home, then delivered it to the restaurants..never revealing the recipe. It was authentic Texas chili. I made chili this week.

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

Congrats to the girls publishing the cookbook! How exciting!

Pat the photos are wonderful, as always, but the last one of the various peppers is my absolute favorite!!!

Carole Burant said...

I will be back to catch up on your posts but right now I just wanted to invite you to my birthday party on my blog...get ready to do the jitterbug:-) xoxo

Anonymous said...

Hey Pat that looked like so much fun...I will need to remember the these Gardens on my next trip to NYC.

Beverly said...

What fun! I think I would have loved sampling dishes with chocolate and chiles. I've seen them on television, but I've never tried any.

The gardens look beautiful, and I loved seeing the butterflies.

I'm excited for Judy, Marge and all, too. I can hardly wait to get my copy.

Gracie said...

What a celebration of colors! I like this kind of events, and I bet the smell was nice too!

Claudia said...

This was a "wake-yourself up" eye opener with my coffee! I am thinking the chocolate-chile fondue with bacon looks good...
I love how beautiful and vibrant chiles are and don't use them enough - and they are super good for you. I grow them! The super-hot chiles frighten me. But you know - it's good to shake up your life once in a while. Your posts always make me wax poetical about NYC.

★Carol★ said...

That festival sure looked like it was alot of fun! Although my tummy can't tolerate the really spicy peppers, I have grown them in the past, just because they're so pretty and colorful! Thanks for sharing your great photos!
Happy REDnesday,

Vee said...

Wasn't that the coolest news from MGCC? I'm thrilled for them all...

No, I am not a chile pepper enthusiast. In fact, I will run a mile from any food with chiles in it, but they are pretty to look at.

Oh, on other topics. I probably don't get back every time I say that I will, but I do get back quite often, but you must know that. I haul John in lots of times to see this photo or that.

Lola said...

Love all the Red here!
And what a great blog this is -love all the great shots of lovely NY!

Happy Rednesday!

Lola & Nora:)
btw Here’s my quick Rednesday link! Do join the fun!

Carol said...

This looks great, right up my alley! Love chilies! and I'm with you, I'd have voted for chocolate chili fudge although they all sound so good!

I use cocoa in my chili! Love the flavor!

Sally Annie Magundy said...

Such a great post, thanks for taking us along with you! I love chile peppers and I would have loved to have gone to that too.

Happy Rednesday,

Donna said...

What a fun day, Pat! I think I would have enjoyed tasting some of those unusual hot and spicey sample dishes.

Lynn said...

I love the way you take full advantage of the great city in which you live!

nanny said...

I think ornamental peppers are just so pretty! I planted a hot pepper this year in a flower bed and it did great....is still blooming!

Unknown said...

The pepper plants are as beautiful as any flower. 2nd son grows them and makes and cooks all summer with peppers. We made pepper jelly and it has really caught on. Such a beautiful bright post. Love it.

Sue said...

Pat, First off- let me say that I am happy to see the correct spelling of the word "chile" instead of chili. LOL Having grown up in NM, I am familiar w/spelling it with the "e" at the end of the word. What fun this must have been! It would have been right up my alley!! I am jealous! I have some green chiles from Hatch, NM in my freezer and am anxious to make some green chile enchiladas soon. New Mexico cuisine is an art unto itself and the relatives beg for me to cook it!

Old Kitty said...

Yum yum yum!!!!

My local shop Waitrose have a selection of "specialist chocolate" and one of my favourite is the Venezualan Chilli Chocolate - very dark chocolate with a hint of chilli and it's just INCREDIBLE!! I never thought mixing dark chocolate with something as potent and anti-sweet as chilli would work - but hey!!! Now I read you can do chocolate chilli dumplings!!! Wow!!!

Awwww what a lovely fiesta!!! I love love love chillis!!! I can just about take the hot but not the hottest!! Oh my god I love the idea of chocolate chilli and red pepper flavoured beer!! I must see if I'm able to get hold of some here!!!

I remember growing a red chilli pepper plant when I was at uni - it grew ok and produced one fruit - but it was an ornamental one! Of course it withered and died eventually! Guess the temperature and the light weren't enough. Oh dear.

Thank you so much for such a fun time at this amazing festival!! Yay for hot chilli peppers AND chocolate!!! Take care

H said...

I'm not sure I can imagine chocolate and chili pepper, but it looks like a fascinating event!

It's also strangely appropriate (in nmae if nothing else) as I'm currently watching Chilean miner number 26 emerging from his long confinement!

Kathleen said...

I love how they look, but I absolutely can't eat them! My tummy revolts!
The festival looks like fun, and I love those structures.
I read about the Cookbook on Ellen's blog, she is in it too.
Wonderful cause!

Michelle said...

Really a nice post and I love your shots. This is one of the things I miss about living in the city....all of the wonderful festivals! And food!

Together We Save said...

Wow - this celebration looks amazing!! The food looks great!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Looks like the weather was wonderful for the festival! I think I see a habanero in that basket ;)

Great shots of a spicy event!

La Petite Gallery said...

I wish I was there for a few weeks to see and do all these fabulous things, Hot Fudge?? I can't imagine
that.. Wonderful post and infomation. Loved it.


Blooming Rose Musings said...

I love to look at all the colorful chile's but I can't say I'm a big fan. I do love how colorful your post is. The garden is gorgeous. I can tell from your pictures that it is definitely autumn in NY. What a wonderful time of year.

Unknown said...

wow...that's a whole lot of peppers! I love hot food and peppers so I'll be happy to happy to be there. Here's wishing you a fab weekend Pat

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Fantastic festival pictures Pat! I love the thought of heating up chocolate with chili peppers. Once again a beautiful and fun post.
♥, Susan

steviewren said...

I would love to try the chocolate and chili dumplings...it seems strange even to write the name, much less contemplate the way the dumplings must have tasted. What a fun way to spend a day.

karpsmom said...

This is a wonderful post! I hope you do a similar one for the 2011 Chile Pepper Fiesta! It's October 1st!