Flying straight from Las Vegas to the beautiful coast of Calabria was like heaven for our taste buds. The contrast from burgers, fast food and Coca Cola to amazing pizza, pasta and red wine couldn’t have been more delightful. But next day the Festival del Pepperoncino in Diamante started so we all got out of our beds, with some severe headache, not knowingly what to expect.
But the town and the festival really overcame our expectations. The whole town was decorated with chilli, from the balconies to the trees. Vendors with all sorts of pepperoncini related local products like cheese and sausages. By the time it got dark the old town was a huge celebration.
We met the most interesting people, like the Head of the Academia del Pepperoncini to the Chef Kumale, who was demonstrating the different use of chilli in countries from Africa to South America.
Late at night, the pepperonci eating contest started. The contestants had to eat 600 grammes of pepperoncino. From the beginning a local lady was far ahead in the competition. Anna Greco won and was celebrated by the cheering observers.
We indulged in the festivities and had another late night ahead of us.
Next day we drove the curvy road up to a tiny village. This is where the Museo del Pepperoncino is located, which had some interesting facts about the history and spreading of chilli.
A big thank you to our translator Annika, who didn’t know ahead what she signed up for but was such a great help and thanks to all the other great people of Calabria, who are truly Chiliheads!