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06-2022

Do these chilli growers have the hottest chilli in Australia?

Do these chilli growers have the hottest chilli in Australia?

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Zimbabwe Birds Eye, Aji Mango, Black Trinidad Scorpion, Naga Bubblegum, Hungarian Hot Wax, Ass Clown Yellow, Carolina Reaper. These are just some of the more than 40 different types of chilli plants grown by Dennis Cray and Steve White. The pair run Bob and Brian’s Hot Sauce, brewing sauces and jams and roasting nuts from their Nelligen home. Among their more than 600 chilli plants are 17 Dragon’s Breath saplings, unofficially one of the hottest chillies in the world. Dragon’s Breath was developed by researchers at the University of Nottingham in the UK. It has been measured at 2.48 million Scoville heat units. The Carolina Reaper – officially the world’s hottest chilli – averages around 1.6 million Scoville heat units. Mr Cray said Dragon’s Breathe was so hot consuming it could cause a severe anaphylactic reaction. “Dragon’s Breath hasn’t been verified by the Guinness Book of Records,” Mr Cray said. “It has been university tested, but official testing is expensive.” The pair do not know of anyone else in Australia with Dragon’s Breath plants. Mr White said many people in online chilli forums believed Dragon’s Breath was a fake chilli plant. “But it is real,” he said. “We have 17 plants.” READ MORE: Growers all across Australia are constantly wanting to purchase Dragon’s Breath plants or pods from the pair. “Everybody is looking for them and no one can get them,” Mr White said. The pair ordered seeds from an American supplier they frequently use in mid-2020. It was just before the mysterious rise of unsolicited seeds being sent randomly from China to addresses across the world. “Because of all these unsolicited seeds coming in from overseas, [Australian] authorities clamped down on imported seeds,” Mr Cray said. It means it is almost impossible to import Dragon’s Breath into Australia. “Many American online stores no longer post to Australia, because border restrictions prevent many seeds from entering,” Mr Cray said. While the pair have “always loved hot food”, their entrepreneurial streak started when Mr Cray purchased a dying Trinidad Scorpion on sale at Bunnings. They nursed it back to life, and it stands thriving by the entrance to their house. Slowly, more and more plants were added to the garden. The pair are painters by trade, but when painting jobs dried up after the bushfires and during COVID, they began blending hot sauces in their kitchen. Each new sauce they brewed had to pass the pub test – it was given out to locals at Nelligen’s Steampacket Hotel. The locals loved the sauces, so Bob and Brian’s Hot Sauces was born. The label now has 18 different sauces. The pair have imported chilli seeds from all around the world, coll ecting different varieties and flavours. Mr White said their chilli plants sometimes cross-pollinated, forming new variants in their own backyard. They brew new sauces by trying to match international chillies with the authentic ingredients native to where the chillies originated. Peruvian chillies were paired with traditional Peruvian spices to make the Inca Gold hot sauce. All the sauces are cooked outside, because the fumes from the chillies are so strong. The pair now run Bob and Brian’s fulltime, and are stocked in stores throughout the Eurobodalla and in Canberra. They hope to grow brand awareness and enter the American hot-sauce market. They have aspirations to run Batemans Bays first Chilli Championship, where competitors sign up to test who can handle the hottest chillies. “It’d just be a bit of fun,” Mr Cray said; “To watch other people writhing in pain from eating things that really the body shouldn’t be eating.”

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