Summer Sillyness

Hello again, everyone. We’ve been looking at some serious hot stuff lately and, if I’m honest with you, I really have been suffering from it. It’s been hard work, assessing the flavours of and writing about such brutal products. So, this week, I’d like to swing the pendulum back the other way and show you something incredibly mild, instead:

This is Silli Chilly – A weirdly spelt chilli jam from our good friend, Stephen Dixon, over at Hot Pods. And it’s quite unlike anything else that I’ve ever tried.

You can tell, from just its packaging, that this product is unusual.

Clad in pinks and pastel purples, rather than any of the usual, bold and fiery shades, plain whites or even mild chilli greens, this jam stands out right away. But it doesn’t come off quite as happily and effeminately as those colours might imply.

The art style on today’s label is just as unusual as its colour scheme and it reminds me ever so strongly of a card game known as “Epic Spell Wars”. As well as, to a lesser degree, some of the darker parts of Adventure Time.

Combine that with the content – An array of orange raindrop people playing happily in a river of reddish pink, while their angry fellow kinsmen point spears at them from the shore – and it seems as though there’s something sinister going on, behind this product’s cute and cheerful facade.

I don’t really know what to make of it. I can’t even tell if that river is supposed to represent the jam, itself, or a hellish torrent of blood. And the burning trees, hidden in the extreme foreground and background, sure don’t help.

In fact, they only serve to muddle the message, since this is supposed to be Hot Pods’ naught point two five out of five strength creation. An ultra mild, borderline heatless preserve, for those who only want the flavour of chilli. Not something with any fire.

Its ingredients are:

Plums, sugar, water, habanada/trinidad perfume chillies (9%).

and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed those peppers, in the past, but I’m curious to see how well they’ll hold up against the darker fruit base of today’s jam. Or if they’ll still be as mild as in the Junior Sensation, when they’re nine percent of the product.

Out of the jar, that dark fruit is immediately obvious – Both in the colour and in the soft chunks, beneath the surface – yet seeds and relatively large pieces of pepper flesh give away the fact that this is a chilli jam, too.

And, interestingly enough, it pours like a thick, sticky sauce, rather than being set, like jelly. Even if it still spreads just as well.

Initially, the taste is exactly what you’d expect. Strong, dark, red fruit and sweetness. Almost a forest fruits kind of flavour, from the plums. But then the habanada comes in on the back end, like it did with my gazpacho. Providing a brighter, more habanero-like fruit flavour that chilli lovers will adore.

To me, though, the true wow factor comes from the trinidad perfumes. Peppers which are commonly marketed as a scotch bonnet substitute but don’t really taste much like them.

Well, now I finally understand why.

They may not taste like scotch bonnet but they do have the taste of scotch bonnet placenta. Like the core of the chilli, where all the heat is. And that flavour seems to be exactly what was needed to trick my brain into thinking that the habanadas really were habaneros.

This jam doesn’t just taste like habaneros, dear readers, it tastes like it actually contains them! Like it contains a lot of them, even. Like it should be a good three and a half, on my scale, with that spiky chinense heat creeping in at any second.

But it never does.

This jam warrants nothing more than a

rating and, honestly, I’d like to go lower. I get nothing from it and that discrepancy between what I feel and what my taste-buds tell me I should be feeling is shocking. Especially when paired with cold, dairy ice-cream.

This jam is a way for those who can’t handle the heat to experience the full chilli flavour but it’s also delicious, in its own right, and utterly mind bending, for seasoned chilli lovers, like myself. So, while I haven’t been able to confirm that more sensitive folk won’t get a tiny tingle from it, I’d still happily recommend Hot Pods’ Silli Chilli to anyone who appreciates the sweet stuff. Regardless of their heat preference.

I love the experience that this jam provides, when used to top ice-cream, but I’m also a huge fan of how its flavour pairs with cherry yoghurt or clotted cream scones. It’s the best use of habanadas and trinidad perfumes that I’ve seen yet and I just can’t praise it enough!

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