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A small Hokianga chilli sauce business has put the heat on international competition by coming second at the New York City Hot Sauce Festival contest, the Screaming MiMis.
Adding colour to that success in the world’s hottest competition, in Northland the dry-heat loving plants are grown in a rainforest.
Fire Dragon Chillies grower and sauce developer Clint Meyer is “stoked” about his and partner Libby’s home-grown Wekaweka Valley business packing a punch at international level.
“If I can encourage a few other small Northland businesses to get out there and take on the world, then I’m happy to,” Mr Meyer said.
His Smokey Dragon chipotle sauce’s success last weekend follows other international prizes, including World Hot Sauce Award for Fire Dragon’s Deadly Sauce last year in the extra hot section of the contest in Louisiana, and six awards – the most won by any company – at the Mr Chilli Awards in Sydney.
The Screaming MiMis are as much a cult entertainment event as a food industry one. The contest attracts hundreds of entries from around the world, is judged by chefs and big-name foodie writers and critics.
And, as a good keen chilli fanatic from the Hokianga would approve, it involves a killer chilli eating contest, similar to those Mr Meyer has staged around New Zealand.
With names such as Dragon’s Fury and Bhuty Black Taniwha, both 10 out of 10 on the extreme heat scale, it is a case of buyer beware. Not all the sauces are super hot, with a chilli chocolate a popular product.
“Quite often my chillies are too hot for New Zealand tastes but that pallette is beginning to change,” Mr Meyer said.
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