ChilliimageThe weather might be dropping but those seeking a heatwave need go no further than Shoreditch this weekend for the Festival of Heat, the last UK Chilli Festival of the year and a celebration of all things hot, hot, hot!

Bringing together the best producers, market traders and fiery chefs from all around the UK, the festival is a real celebration of locally-grown produce and urban food. Budding entrepreneur? Experts will be on hand to offer advice on how to send your own sauce to market, from production to shelf, for any of you that are inspired by the sauces, jams, pickles and more available to taste on the day. Want to try out some recipes for yourself? Masterclasses for the masterchefs out there will reveal all and show you how to make your dinner parties go off with a bang.

This is the third Festival of Heat, with visitor numbers increasing year on year, and organisers say that the popularity and interest in rare chillies has never been higher. We’ve all read about the Scoville scale, and the sheer variety of chillies out there, but what does it all mean and why are chillies so endearingly popular? Pritesh Mody, owner of www.worldofzing.com, as featured on the BBC and C4’s Sunday Brunch as a chilli expert will be there this weekend to teach us all about this fascinating world. Pritesh says,

“I attribute the huge current trend for spicier cuisine to the recession of 2008. With stretched pockets, value for money became more important than ever so out went fancy plates and fine dining and in came street food with big portions and robust flavours. With much of the world’s best street food coming from South America and Asia, it was only natural that the ingredients used to cook their exotic dishes followed, including the huge variety of chillies we now see.”

Entertainment on the day will be eclectic, with bands playing folk music from all over the world. Background Bars are providing the drinks and we can’t wait to try the Chilli Martini, made from a delicious chilli-infused rum. Hats off to festival founder Rosanna Leal, who whose work to bring together local independent businesses and the various communities living and contributing to the rich life of London and the East End, has resulted in a day full of fire!

Tickets are £7.50 with children under 16 going free.