Mark Your Calendars: Spicy Food Festivals

Who doesn’t love a great food festival? I’ll admit, I prefer them during the summer but nothing will get me out of the house quicker than a chance to sample various spicy foods in one spot this winter. Here are a few to check out that are taking place in the next few months.

1. Zest Fest 2012
Jan 27 – 29, Irving, TX

If you like it scorching hot, this is the place to be. The only other festival that draws a larger crowd of Chileheads is the Fiery Food Fest held in New Mexico in March. You’ll samples salsas, hot sauces, and foods from retailers and exhibitors from all over the world. Great way to warm up this winter!

2. Beer, Bourbon and BBQ
Jan 28, New York City, NY

This is a BBQ event but we all know some BBQ comes with a kick of heat and how can you resist sampling over 60 beers, 40 bourbons and whole hog pulled pork, brisket, ribs, sausages with all the fixings! This event is almost sold out in NYC so get your tickets. This is also a traveling festival so check their website for locations near you. Oh and loosen up your belts…

3. Food Network’s SOBE Food & Wine Fest
Feb 23-26, Miami FL

This is part of the Food Network’s traveling celebrity chef food event to be held in South Beach, Miami; the NYC fest is being held in mid October. This isn’t a spicy food festival but I’m almost certain you’ll find some spicy dishes in Miami. A little weekend getaway to Miami should be a nice retreat and a great cure for the Winter blues.

4. Fiery Food and BBQ Festival
Mar 2 – 4, Albuquerque, NM

This is the mack daddy of them all for Chileheads. This events pulls in over 10,000 chile aficionados and hundreds of hot sauce and spicy BBQ sauce retailers from all over the world and is held twice a year in Albuquerque. Here you can sample spicy dishes and hot sauces over the three day weekend event. I’m hoping to make it this year, just wish there were direct flights from the NYC area…uggh.

5. Varli Food Festival
April 5, New York City, NY

This is a food, wine and desserts festival showcasing Indian dining. Guests will be able to sample foods from about 30 Indian restaurants and caterers around the NYC area, view cooking demos, and will receive gift bags with Indian goodies and spices. The event will also host various master chefs such as Sanjeev Kapoor, Jehangir Mehta, Maneet Chauhan, Vikas Khanna and many more. Also, all proceeds of the event will go to various charities. This is definitely an event that can’t be missed and I can’t wait, Indian food is one of my favorites!! I got my ticket so get yours now before they sell out!!

Will you be attending any of these events? Also, do you know of any other upcoming spicy food festivals you’d like me to list? I’d love to hear about them!!

Stay tuned for more events during Spring and Summer and don’t forget to like our Facebook page or subscribe to our blog so you won’t miss a thing!!

Thanks
Maria

Holiday Gift Guide: 10 Gifts For Spicy Food Lovers

Only 5 days until Christmas and it’s the first day of Chanukah so you’re cutting it super close for those holiday gifts. You still have some time though, especially if you’re going to see some of those on your list after the holidays.

So here are 10 holiday gifts that will surely impress your spicy food loving friends and you may still be able to get some of them before the holidays so get to it! Oh, and they’re easy on the pockets too. Enjoy and happy holidays!

1. Spicy Lollipops Sampler $13.50 – Hot spicy sweets make great stocking stuffers. Great balance of tropical fruit flavors and chili peppers for those who like their sweets with a bit of heat. Includes 6 lollipops, two of each flavor: Mango Habanero, Chili Coconut and Ginger Spice.

2. Ghost Pepper Plant from $4.99 – Great gift from ThinkGeek for the hot pepper fiend! Grow your own Bhut Jolokia peppers, one of the hottest peppers in the world. Perfect for growing indoors during winter months and replanting in the spring. So inexpensive you can give a few!

3. Chile Flavor Wheel $12 – similar to the flavor & aroma wheel for wines but for chilies instead. Features flavor profiles, uses and everything you wanted to know about 14 of the most popular chilies…or you can direct them here for a free quick guide.

4. Travel Spice Kit $14.99 – What a great little kit, all the spices you ever needed in a travel case from World Market! Take it to your tailgate party, camping, or vacation home. Even great for those who don’t cook often and just need a little bit of spice…they get 20 spices in kit! I want one…thanks!

5. Indian Spice Box $69 – This is absolutely gorgeous and great for storing spices or anything else you like. It’s a traditional spice box from India and hand carved…just lovely and from West Elm.

6. Chili Pepper & Herb Wreath $43 – Love, love, love this! Organic, air dried, and pesticide free from Natural Kitchen. This is the gift that will keep on giving and good for anytime of the year. Just image how fragrant this will be in the kitchen. Includes thyme, sage, arbol chili, majoram and a few others.

7. Masala Dabba $27 – You may find this spice box in most Indian homes and used for storing the most commonly used spices in Indian cooking. Use it to store whatever spices are common in your home. Can be found on Amazon and is made of stainless steel and includes 7 spice containers and a spoon. Would look great on a kitchen counter top.

8. Spicy BBQ Sauce from $5.95 – Great BBQ sauces from Brother’s Sauces pack an amazing amount of flavor and spice! Get the original Brother’s Gold BBQ sauce, Brother’s Heat and the Brother’s Spicy Brown Mustard Gold. Trust me, you will not regret it…hey, you may even keep it for yourself!

9. Kitchen Aide Coffee Grinder $29 – Grind up your coffee and your dried chili peppers (not at the same time!). Perfect gift for those who like to make their own dry rubs. Order online or get to your local Target.

10. eGift Card from Restaurant.com – Get a gift card for less than half of it’s value! $40 for a gift card worth $100 and recipient gets to choose their favorite restaurant. Awesome deal for you and the chili lover in your life. Who doesn’t love a great deal for the holidays?