August 19th is Hot and Spicy Food Day and I’m feeling hot, hot, hot….hope you are too because in celebration of all things hot and spicy we have some sizzling festivals to tell you about in this edition of Southern Dish.
If you are looking for something “hot” to do this month, then you are in luck! The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival will be held August 28th at Waterloo Park. With twenty-one years of heat celebration under its belt this festival is sure to please. There will be a giant tasting tent filled with sauces to sample and a hot sauce cooking demonstration tent with chefs talking about a variety of chilies and their uses. A main activity at the festival is the hot sauce contest which draws over 350 entries each year. There will also be a delicious variety of food vendors on hand to serve up their signature dishes – this year’s line up features Aster’s Ethiopian Restaurant, Buffalo Billiards, Curra’s Grill, Matt’s Famous El Rancho, Santa Rita Tex Mex Cantina, Sun Garden Shaved Ice and Torchy’s Tacos. Want to know more – then head to www.austinchronicle.com
If some spicy Louisiana food and fun is what you crave then the St. Martinville Pepper Festival is where you need to be on October 16th! And if you are going for the heat then make sure you partake in the pepper-eating contest – five grueling minutes to see which brave participant can eat the most Louisiana peppers. While this fest celebrates all things pepper it also features plenty of booths selling Louisiana festival cuisine including jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, crawfish and shrimp poboys and seafood pasta. Want to learn a little too? Festival patrons can watch local chefs give cooking demonstrations throughout the day. Also be sure not to miss out on the live music of every variety – oldies, Zydeco, Motown, country, funk, swamp pop, Cajun, Mardi Gras music and more! You can also purchase pepper plants, pepper cookbooks and locally made hot sauces. So mark your calendar and check out www.tabasco.com and www.pepperfestival.org for directions and details.
If you eyes aren’t watering and your mouth isn’t burning just yet then it will be after a visit to the I Like It Hot! Festival in Largo, Florida, September 10th and 11th. You will be able to sample and purchase hot and fiery foods, sauces and pepper plants. And this festival is all about participation – there is a pepper eating contest, hot sauce competition and salsa competition. Interested in entering your hot sauce or salsa? Then bring 16 oz or more of your very own creation to the festival and see how yours stacks up! For maps and times click www.ilikeithotfestival.com
So whether it is jalapeños, hot wings or a bottle of hot sauce – celebrate all things hot and spicy! And if setting your mouth on fire isn’t your thing then remember “if you can’t stand the heat then stay out of the kitchen” – go out back and have some lemonade cause as luck would have it August 20th is Lemonade Day!