On a recent holiday trip to Italy (my first time) we visited a very small town on top of a hill, called Poppi. As we where doing the tourist thing, walking into all the small interesting shops on the look out for wine and tasty treats, I found this interesting looking packet of dried spice that said “Pici all’aglione” on it. I like interesting looking things to try, but now I had to choose between 2 very similar looking dried spices. With no real understanding of the local language I asked the shop attended what the difference was.
After some charades we figured out the one was with breadcrumbs and the other one with dried chilli flakes and garlic. I thought to myself, “breadcrumbs?”, boring. We will have the one with chilli.
Now, this was before I realized that in Tuscany, they love their food very salty and extremely HOT! If they shows 3 chilli’s next to the menu item, it really means it’s very hot, not like I am used to here in Holland or even back in Southern Africa.
So back home here, we or rather I enthusiastic wanted to try my new Italian spice! Luckily for me, there are English directions on how to use on the back. So, pasta boiling, check!. Now adding two teaspoons full of the blend in a pan and lightly fry for a few minutes, check! Add pasta and toss! Ready!
Well, you can guess what happened next. Yes, my mouth was on fire! It doesn’t hit you instantaneously, but when you swallow. I have used it since, but very scarcely in anything from meatballs to stews. It really does give loads of flavour and if you love hot, you will love this stuff.
So having an abundance of the chilli spice gave me another idea. I wanted to photograph it in a way that showed what a big impact a small amount can have. So together with a small chilli potted plant I also bought in Italy I went to work to create the Chilli Spoon image.
In this short video of Chilli Spoon: The Making Of, you can see the steps I took to great the photo.