Where was chili invented

The chilli story

The Chili Story: Thanks, Chris!

Without you, Pepperworld® wouldn't exist - and the food would be bland.

The chili story explains how the hot pods spread around the world in an amazingly colorful variety. From fresh chillies, dried chillies, cuddly chillies made of plush to chillies in a bottle.

That was not always so. Before the 15th century, chillies were unknown outside of South America. The only spicy seasoning that existed in Europe before that was the “real” black pepper, Latin piper nigrum. But only a few rich could afford it, because the pepper berries only thrived in distant India, and transportation was expensive. At the end of the 15th century, Christopher Columbus was sent to change this - a shorter, more direct route across the sea was needed ...

That would not have happened with GPS ...

Columbus brought not only the potato back to Europe from his extensive exploratory trips, but also hot chilli pods, due to a small mistake. As is well known, the main purpose of his historically famous 1492 voyage was to find a shorter sea route to India to give Spain an edge over competition from other European merchant fleets. Spices, especially black pepper, were very important commercial goods at that time. The peppercorns were so popular in Europe that they were literally worth gold. It is well known that Columbus died believing that he had sailed the coast of India; therefore he called the natives he found “Indians”.

This would not have happened with GPS sat nav: When he landed in the Caribbean (“West India”), he got to know the small berries used by the inhabitants, which are characterized by their enormous heat. And right here he and his companions made another mistake; The plants with the fiery fruits were thought to be relatives of the pepper, which was already known from India, and were therefore also given the name pimienta (Spanish for “pepper”). That is why the spicy paprika varieties, known internationally as “chilies”, are called “Spanish pepper” in many places.

Thanks, Chris!

Global warming

Through the international trade routes, the pods spread rapidly around the world, including India, Africa and Asia, as early as the 16th century. India today even has the highest per capita consumption of hot peppers, and in the USA, in the mid-1990s, chili sauces overtook the beloved tomato ketchup as the most popular seasoning sauce. Well over 2000 different types of hot sauce and salsa are available in the land of unlimited possibilities alone; Experts collect and taste them like fine wines. For a few years now, traditional German sauce providers have been giving local palates a fiery taste, and boring potato chips have made room for spicy corn chips seasoned with chillies on the supermarket shelf. And here too there are more every day.

Chilies are an indispensable part of the world's kitchens. The hot pods are not only healthy, they can also be used in a more versatile way than any other spice or vegetable. And each variety has its typical, unmistakable aroma. Many varieties - including culinary notes - are available in our chilli database.

Medicine has also recognized the benefits of the hot pods. Chilli active ingredients are successfully used against lumbago, migraines, shingles and circulatory problems, among other things, and research constantly comes across new findings and possible applications. More about it here.

As great as the distribution of chilies is the variety of their species. Even if many of them have their home in South America and the Caribbean, with a little skill they can also be cultivated by the hobby gardener, even on the terrace and balcony. Here's how to do it.

The chilli plants are not only an attractive addition to the garden, they also provide flavor and vegetables for the kitchen. You can get a lot of ideas here.

In addition, a culture (and industry) of its own has developed around the topic of hot pods, some of which are quite amusing (do you want to try them? See Chiliheads).


PEPPERWORLD® is dedicated to all of these “hot topics”!