Despite feeling a bit (understatement of the year) under the weather this morning, I definitely didn’t want to miss one event I was definitely was looking forward to, even if it was to document some of the days events rather than participate directly in them. Every year the North Market holds its Fiery Foods Festival, a celebration of all things spicy. With different events going on all day (like chili cookoffs, wing eating contests, cooking demonstrations, etc) there’s something going on for everyone, from the most casual spicy food wimps like myself to die-hard chile heads who can’t get it hot enough.
It was already really crowded by the time I got there around 11:30ish. I initially took a few minutes to talk to resident hot foods expert and the man behind all things CaJohn, John Hard.
The Dispatch Kitchen upstairs had been turned into cooking demo central for the day, while John was getting things prepped for the hot wing eating contest to be held later that day. When I got there the Chef Chili Cookoff was also being held on the 2nd floor, but unfortunately the tasting area was so crowded that I didn’t have a chance of getting close enough to do any tasting myself. It looks like North Market Poultry and Game took top honors this year, which makes sense because they make a pretty damn good chili.
Downstairs, a few hot sauce/salsa vendors had set up shop around the perimeter of the market, like this person selling Montezuma products.
In addition, a lot of the normal vendors got into the spirit as well. Pam of Pam’s Market Popcorn was offering a Painful Purgatory Pepper Popcorn. My husband tried it, said to Pam, “you call this hot?” then ended up eating his words about a minute later as the heat finally hit him. That’ll teach him.
Mike of Curds and Whey had a couple of different hot cheeses out, like this Satanic Goat (Ohio Chevre with Jalapeno)
and also something called Lucifer (Italian Gorgonzola with Cayenne).
Even Jeni of Jeni’s Ice Creams got into the spirit with her Red Hot Chocolate ice cream sandwiches, which paired her Queen City Cayenne and Saigon Cinnamon ice creams on a red chocolate macaron.
I ended up leaving a bit earlier than I liked (I was still feeling rather ill, and the constant pushing of the crowd coupled with getting run into by strollers a dozen or so times weren’t helping things one bit), so I ended up missing the amateur chili cookoff and the afternoon wing eating contests, but rest assured, based on the turnout and Twitter banter from the afternoon, it looks like it ended up being another great success for the market and a good time was had by everyone who attended. I’m looking forward to next year, when I’ll be more up for it (and will hopefully get a chance to taste some chili).