Arson Fire, the story behind its birth
During the summer of 2008, Russ had the crazy notion of growing chillis in the greenhouse back in Chandlers Ford, Hants. Not just any chilli, but the Dorset Naga, reported at the time to be the hottest chilli in the world, measuring over 1.2 million on the Scoval scale. Not realising how successful the plants would be, he ended up with over 200 fruits and no real plans of what to do with them. Following a couple of "interesting" nights down the pub, touching a cut chilli on the top of a mates beer glass with absolutely hilarious effects (sorry Rich and Ade), he soon realised they were far too hot to be of much culinary use....or could they?
"On a hot summer afternoon, I emptied the whole fridge with the remit of "if it will liquidise, it's going in! From plums and grapes to onions and tomatoes, everything went into the blender".
Now a message of wisdom follows - NEVER EVER liquidise a Dorset Naga indoors. The fumes that shot out the top were absolutely blinding. No kidding, we had to run out of the house, coughing and wheezing. After de-fumigating the house, it seemed this was in fact an outdoor pursuit, so we lit the camping stove and cooked the whole lot up in the garden. The first trial had to be strictly scientific. No messing about anymore, these chillies were dangerous and we had to put safety first..... So up steps Ellie (then aged 5). Now usually, she was a pretty tough cookie, tree climbing and riding a motocrosser, but she must have been having an off day.
It seemed a handful of Naga may have been a bit too much, so we backed off a little and tried again. The real trick was remembering what was in the fridge in the first place. We were shouting out names of fruit and veg like the 1980's Generation Game.
Eventually, we had our recipe and it has never changed to this day. Of course, the grapes are now our own Adgestone Vineyard grapes, but other than that, Arson Fire was alive!!
Since the initial success, Russ just could stop playing and the brand expanded from the original dipping source, to marmalades, jams and now the flag ship Chilli Chocolate Liqueur. Hilarious given to your friends as a shot at your next house party!! Just have your camera ready....