With the chilli seed planting season now firmly upon us chilli growers and hot food lovers around the world are switching their thoughts to what varieties to grow this season. With so many different peppers to choose from which peppers are the tastiest for homemade curries? What’s the difference between Jalapeno and a Habanero? Where do the worlds hottest peppers come from and just how do you grow them?
These were just some of the questions which crossed the mind of Mark McMullan and Julian Livsey, two self confessed ‘chilli heads’ from the UK almost 2 years ago which has since led to the development of one of the worlds top chilli pepper websites: www.thechileman.org
The birth of www.thechileman.org
In 1996 Dave DeWitt wrote the Inspirational ‘Peppers of the World: An Identification Guide’ which described 315 popular Chile pepper varieties. ‘We thought it would be good idea to raise the bar even further’ said Mark.
Chillies, chile, chilli, paprika, capsicums or peppers, it doesn’t matter what you call them or how you spell them, over the last two years we have amassed detailed information and photographs on over 3700 varieties!
The websites ‘Jewel in the Crown’ is ‘thechileman database’ the largest of its kind in the world and can be found on the following link:
The database is ‘intelligent’ in that it has been built to help you find what your looking for even if you don’t know the varieties name said Julian, thechileman.org web designer. You can sort the 3714 varieties currently listed by name, heat, origin, species or a combination of all four. It also contains a clever piece of technology which can convert the database into nearly 10 languages for the benefit of Chinese, Portuguese, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, Japanese, German, French and Italian speakers.
Thechileman.org needs your help
Over the last 2 years, ‘the chilemen’ have gradually built up the site in their spare time for the benefit of anyone with an interest in peppers. It is ‘not for profit’ and we only sell a few bottles of our homemade Naga ‘Snakebite’ Chilli sauce to help meet the sites rising hosting costs said Mark. Despite the web sites success, which received 5.3 million ‘hits’ from over 131,000 visitors from 174 different countries and territories in 2007 alone, it is under constant development.
Currently we are looking for ‘missing images’ to help make the database even more complete with all images used credited to the photographer said Mark.
If you have noticed that they have classed a chilli as originating in Botswana when in fact it is native to neighboring Zimbabwe, have contributions to support the project or would simply like to leave some feedback, you can contact them directly via the database page.