Portsmouth Chilli and Gin Festival: 13 photos of people enjoying spicy chillis and refreshing gin at Fort Purbrook

Fans of fiery food and gin connoisseurs were spoilt for choice at Portsmouth’s second Chilli and Gin festival.

The event saw traders selling homemade hot sauces, home-grown chilli peppers and artisanal gins and kicked off at Fort Purbrook today (Saturday) and will also run tomorrow. The festival, the only in the UK which combines chilli and gin, featured live music from the Big Noise Community Samba Band and a chilli-eating competition hosted by Shahina Waseem – the ‘UK Chili Queen’.

Shahina said: ‘I’ve never been defeated in 97 chilli-eating competitions in the last 11 years. It’s all about not losing. I’ll be crying from round one and people in the audience will be going “she’s out next” – it’s literally just willpower. I want to get this world record no-one else has around the world, which is to get to 100 contests undefeated. It’s opened up all these opportunities to travel around the world and you get recognised for it. It’s amazing.

Shahina added that she avoids the hotter chillies in her own cooking because of her ‘fear of the pain’, but enjoys a mild spice.

This year’s chilli-eating competition was won by Michael Hunt.

Bradley Scarborough, who runs Chillies from Widley with his father, said: ‘Dad grows these about 10 minutes from here – anything from a mild heat chilli all the way up to a Carolina Reaper.’

Richard Dampney of Dampney’s Remarkable drinks said: ‘We do homemade fruit liqueurs based on gin, vodka and rum. We had a very successful year last year when we came and it’s just as good this year.’

Richard added that his elderflower gin was the most popular on the menu.

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