I really really really don’t get the incessant need to chuck chilies into anything and everything to give it some kind of ‘surprise’. It’s a really crap surprise, like having a friend stay over and then finding them wearing your underwear the next day. There are no high fives going on when you’re expecting a normal food, and instead you get chili heat ruining all your fun.
The obvious culprit here is chocolate. I can taste that chili and chocolate have some sort of flavour bond together, but heat isn’t a part of that relationship. “Lets wind down from that hearty meal with a light, airy chocolate MOUTHFUL OF BURN” said no one ever. I’ve tried all sorts of chocolate and chili as well – I am a big fan of being sure that I don’t like something (I’ll always try olives whenever they’re available – still can’t stand them!). Choc and chili mousse, chocolate sauce with a chili infusion, 85% dark chocolate with chili crap, beautiful oozing chocolate lava cake with chili rubbish inside.
But it’s not just chocolate. Any dessert with chili in is ruined, for a start. Chili ice cream – like, seriously? Chili jelly, chili fudge, chili cheesecake. Stupid idea.
It also starts to impair other dishes as well, although this starts to become a lot more controversial. I adore mango chutney, but think it’s an abomination if it’s bleeding with chili heat. Bread should never have chili heat in as well, neither should drinks. I’ve been offered chili mango lassi before TO COOL DOWN MY BURNING MOUTH FROM ALL THE EARLIER CHILI HEAT. Like, seriously mate? (After note: I get a little common when I get worked up!)
Jams are another no-go. Marmalade, raspberry, pineapple – none of them should have chili in them. They are complex, deep, sweet fruity delights, and chili heat destroys that playground of happiness. I do concede here though, that chili jam itself is quite a tasty treat, but it’s barely a ‘jam’ in this instance, as you wouldn’t slather it on toast, unless you’re a crazy person.
But rather than just a Friday 13th rant, I’m using my absolute hatred for poor chili use to actually work my own backside off and use it properly. I enjoy chili, and don’t mind a potent burn of my mouth when the flavour is on point. While my mango chutney should be fruity, I love a bold lime pickle. L-O-V-E. However, I rarely use chili in my foods. Often, this is an opportunity missed. And there is a blatant reason for this – I’m scared to use chili. So let this be a lesson to myself. Use more chili, and use it properly. Not in blooming chocolate, though.