Posted by: oysterculture | January 4, 2009

Things are heating up – the UKs Tesco sells out of Dorset naga

I read my holiday edition of the Economist with some bemusement.   I love the diversity of topics contained in its pages, but the article that really tickled my interest, was Global Warming, why the world has taken to chilies.  The article explains the rising demand for hot chilies.  The appeal is that chili ‘high’ achieved when the bloodstream flood endorphins to the body as a form of pain relief for those other less appealing effects.  You know, the running nose, sweating, and watery eyes.  The adage, the hotter the better, take on new meaning.  Tabasco, still the world’s best selling chili condiment is considered too wimpy.  The firm added some heat to their line up with a habanerno based sauce.  But, looking at the scoreville scale even this new sauce has a long way to go.      

Scorville scale, source The Daily Mail

Scorville scale, source The Daily Mail

 Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket, recently added Dorset naga to their vegetable shelves – it is the only food they sell that they do not sell to children (that should tell you something).  Dorset naga were developed in the UK (in Dorset) by  Joy and Michael Michaud as a relative to Scotch Bonnets.   According to the Economist article, Jonathan Corvett, a Tesco buyer makes a standard hot curry taste “taste like a bowl of breakfast cereal”.

They look so harmless

Dorset naga, source The Daily Mail

Dorset naga, source The Daily Mail


In 2007, Tesco held a trial to sell 400 packs in a month.  They sold out in one morning.  They were forced to sell unripened green chilies intended for the following year.

 Tesco states they only intend to sell these chilies in the UK, despite stores in Europe and North America.  The store states, I kid you not, that the tastes in the UK run hotter.  As a red blooded, hot food loving American, I’m offended, do we not lead the world in chili festivals?  =)




  1. Never had anything higher than a serrano! We’re scared of what could happen!

  2. I’m with you, I’m not sure you could even taste anything after a certain point. I think it would be all about the heat.

  3. haha – what a joke about the UK leading in “hotter tastes!” If they do it’s thanks to the Asian immigrants and not the natives. And even then, how could they possibly touch a country made up of a large population of Latin Americans – especially Mexicans (i.e. the US) – the original heat lovers of the world?! 🙂

  4. I hear ya Sister! =)

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