Sunday, 26 February 2012

Chilly Chilli

For a country with such a cold, grey climate, Germany does hot/spicy food surprisingly poorly. Rather than attempting to whisk away the winter blues with a lovely, warming curry that'll set your mouth on fire and run rockets down your gullet, the Germans appear to prefer sipping on lukewarm mush that matches the dreary sky above.

While Vicky and I have struggled in vain to find a decent spicy meal, no experience has so disappointed us as our evening eating 'hot chili' cornchips with a 'hot' salsa dip.

We had such high hopes. Not only does the front of the cornchip packet feature a mix of both red and green chillies, the flavour is listed as hot chili. Not 'medium' chili. Not 'mild' chili. Not 'minuscule traces of' chili. Not adjective-less 'chili'. Hot Chili.

Also, "100% chip taste".
To set your expectations even higher, the reverse of the packet features a tough chip character welcoming you to his club, which seems to be called hot Chili and has the tag-line, 'the firey passion'. 

I bet his name is 'Chip', too.

Now, this must be a tough, spicy club. Chip welcomes you to his club in which you will  devour many of his contemporaries. He is one rough chap! Also, to get into the club, it looks as if you may have to leap over a couple of additional gigantic chillies. If they have enough gigantic chillies to leave lying about the place, just imagine how many they have to grind up and turn into delicious hot sprinkles.

However, having been disappointed with a lack of spice previously, Vicky and I were taking no chances. We also bought a hot salsa dip! Not a medium or mild dip, or one with ordinary punctuation. No, this was a premium quality Dip! The exclamation mark added by some clever marketing type who, on tasting the salsa, realised they needed to imply that the contents of the jar would make one exclaim (which means to cry out or remark suddenly, especially with surprise, anger or pain - or hopefully all three). They need to avoid lawsuits, you know.

Once again, Chio brand.

Surely - surely! - dipping our hot chili chips into our hot salsa dip would provide us with the firey joy we were so desperately seeking.

If you are a prescient reader and able to read between the lines of my anticipatory exposition, or if you simply read the second paragraph without skipping over, you'll be able to tell that we would be stupendously disappointed.

The experience was akin to dipping crunchy cardboard into sugary, watery tomato swill. The corn chips were clearly 'plain' flavour that had somehow managed to be packaged incorrectly and the salsa was sweeter than mango chutney - and far less hot.

I checked the ingredients. If Germany is anything like Australia, they are listed in decreasing order of composition. Our disappointment jar's two main ingredients are "drinking water" and "sugar".

ironically, after opening, you must keep it in a cool place.

Nevertheless, as crestfallen as we were, we cannot judge too harshly. This Chio brand may well be doing the best they can with the prohibitive cost of spices in Germany. Little bottles of spice in the supermarkets are preposterously expensive, so much so that Vicky and I are forced to purchase our seasonings in little baggies from a foreign dealer at the Sunday markets in Mauerpark. He's never in the same location twice. 

Cinnamon, chilli and Thai curry

So, we must give Chio their due, even as we affirm that we will never again purchase one of their products. Bravo, Chio! You are spice shysters of the highest order.

With spice costs being what they are in Berlin, there's only one thing to do with the disappointing remaining 95% of our hot salsa: throw it in the garbage.

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