A NEW business venture in Wigan is set to get the taste buds tingling and eyes watering for chilli lovers.
James Read, from Lower Ince, has recently launched Chilli Junkies, an online store for spicy culinary products from around the world.
And the dad of two visited the Evening Post office to give brave members of staff a how hot can you go challenge.
The 34-year-old said: “I think it is quite a niche industry.
“I know of a few specialist sellers down south who stock similar products but I’m not aware of anything else around here.
“Hopefully I should be able to corner the market.
“It’s a unique industry and it’s starting to grow.
“My goal is to bring chilli to the masses.
“A lot of people just go to the supermarket and there’s not a lot there in terms of chilli products.”
Among those editorial staff accepting James’s challenge was self-confessed chilli enthusiast Henry Widdas who has been known to grow his own in the office.
The 39-year-old content manager said: “When Chilli Junkies paid a visit to the office I was first in line to try out the products as I’m addicted to spicy food.
“I get frustrated at the lack of chilli options in supermarkets so I felt like a kid in a sweet shop when all these bottles were laid out in front of me.
“The hot naga chilli sauce I tried caused me some serious discomfort but it was well worth it.
“The pain was soon replaced by a sense of euphoria – caused by the release of endorphins you get after eating chillis.
“For a legal high that’s healthy too, I’d recommend trying out some of James’s products.
“Only for those brave enough to try, of course.”
James admits that his business concept of sourcing chilli products from around the globe and making them available to UK customers has stemmed out of a hobby.
He said: “I was like anyone else who thought a jalapeno pepper was hot.
“But over the last year or so I’ve learned about chillis by going to festivals down south.
“I’ve tasted the really hot stuff in the past and it is not very enjoyable.
“Chillis that are 1.2m Scoville level, compared to jalepenos being 3,000. But they’re just bravado chillies.
“I’m just excited about the possibilities this business could bring.
“I think my products will surprise some people. It’s not just sauces and oils, we have fresh chillies, chocolates, snack and drinks.
“And I think I broke a few people today in the Evening Post office!”
The Scoville scale is the measurement of the pungency (spicy heat) of chili peppers. The number of Scoville heat units (SHU) indicates the amount of capsaicin present. Capsaicin is a chemical compound that stimulates chemoreceptor nerve endings in the skin, especially the mucous membranes.
The scale is named after its creator, American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville. His method, devised in 1912, is known as the Scoville Organoleptic Test.