Hot time in the city thanks to the Botanic Garden’s Chile Pepper festival

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The world is a volatile place — so perhaps it’s no surprise that the only thing that everyone agrees upon is the beauty and joy of the fiery chili pepper.

That’s why the annual Chile Pepper Fiesta at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on Oct. 2 is a multi-national affair, featuring peppers from the Caribbean to the Himalayas, sample recipes from New Orleans to Seoul, international music, and even mouth-charring cocktails.

“The chili is one of the few plants used all over the world,” said Kate Blumm, spokesperson for the festival. “And we want to use it to educate people about different cultures.”

Two Brooklyn chefs will demonstrate their zesty specialties: Corwin Kave, excutive chef at Fatty ’Cue will make Malaysian food, while Simon Glenn, owner of Tchoup Shop, will cook Cajun-style. Other demonstrations will feature Mayan, Mexican, and West Indian meals.

The dessert only gets hotter with the chili chocolate competition. It was such a hit last year that organizers had to go back for seconds.

“People are surprised about how well the chili and chocolate bring out the best in each other,” said Brian Sell, part of the team from Nunu Chocolates on Atlantic Avenue, which will be participating again. “It may make them rethink what chocolate can be.”

If there’s one thing that complements chocolate (and just about anything else), it’s booze. Luckily, Kara Newman will be mixing up spicy mocktails, since alcohol isn’t allowed in the park, from her book “Spice and Ice.”

And of course, it wouldn’t be a party without music.

Bands playing music from West Africa, North India, the Middle East, and the Caribbean will play all day to round out the festival.

Chile Pepper Fiesta at Brooklyn Botanic Garden [1000 Washington Ave., at Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, (718) 623-7220]. Oct. 2, noon–6 pm. Tickets $15. For info, visit

Updated 5:20 pm, July 9, 2018
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