South Devon Chilli Farm
PRODUCER: South Devon Chilli Farm
PRODUCT: Madagascar Dark Chilli Chocolate
REGION: South West, Channel Islands and Isles of Scilly
CATEGORY: From the Earth (Artisan)
WHAT THEY DO
In the late 1990s two chilli enthusiasts moved to rural Devon from the city and began growing chillies in their back garden greenhouses. Looking for ways to preserve their crop, they experimented creating chilli conserves, chocolates and sauces and in 2003 left their day jobs to set up the South Devon Chilli Farm.
Today the farm grows more than 100 varieties of chilli and produces 15 tonnes of chillies each year, which are turned into a range of 70 products in the farm’s own purpose-built kitchen. Made in small batches, all products are natural from “seed to sauce” with no artificial additives or biological controls. Customers can visit the farm to see the chillies growing in the show polytunnel, with educational tours available, and the company often attend regional food events.
The company’s Madagascar Dark Chilli chocolate is made with ethical practice in mind, and uses sustainable Forastero, Trinitario and Criollo cocoa beans. These are transformed into 70 per cent cocoa-solid dark chocolate in the place of origin, making it a “raise trade” product, meaning a higher price can be returned to Madagascan farmers by not outsourcing the process to Europe. At the South Devon Chilli Farm the chocolate is expertly blended with home-grown chillies by the farm’s two chocolatiers.
Continuing this good practice at home, the farm employs 15 staff from the local community and supports local schools and charities.
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
The judges liked the producer’s knowledge of chillies and understanding of which work best with different ingredients. All agreed chillies and chocolate is a “match made in heaven”.
VISIT THE WEBSITE southdevonchillifarm.co.uk