Even though India’s very own Bhut Jolokia, or King Chilli, was rated as the hottest chilli in the world by The Guinness Book of World Records almost a decade ago, many Indians (including myself) still fear this Northeast-born chilli. Also known as ‘ghost pepper’, it is indeed known to scare many epicures despite their undying love for all kinds of nuanced cuisines. However, a Manipur-based couple has gone beyond the traditional uses of King Chilli by infusing it with their homegrown artisanal chocolate bars.
Hill Wild, the brainchild of Leiyolan Vashum and Zeinorin Stephen living in the Ukhrul district of Manipur, is an artisanal chocolate brand from the Northeast that works with the region’s local communities providing them with employment opportunities and promoting local produce. From pumpkin seeds to plum wine, they infuse authentic northeastern ingredients with cocoa sourced directly from Pune. However, their idea of using ghost chilli as one of the ingredients is by far their most interesting one. “The unique selling point of our chocolates is that we are using our locally-grown products like ghost chilli, making it more palatable. We want our products to have the feel of unexplored Northeast so that people outside can taste the uniqueness of our region”, said Zeinorin Stephen in a report by The Telegraph.
A small organisation with just 13 employees, Hill Wild currently sells almost 10,000 chocolate bars in Manipur, Nagaland, Shillong, and Jorhat alone, and provides employment to 25 local farmers. While they do offer a wide range of chocolate bars, there’s nothing quite like the bittersweet burst of cocoa punctuated by the flavour of the hottest chilli ever. A bar of King Chilli chocolate costs INR 160 and is currently shipping country-wide, allowing many of us to (finally) proudly declare our conquest of the great King Chilli.
Feature Image Courtesy: Instagram (L) and The Better India (R)
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