carolina reaper chilli pepper

Extreme food lovers rejoice: the world’s hottest chilli pepper has gone on sale at Tesco.

The ominous-sounding Carolina Reaper, ranked by the Guinness Book of Records as the hottest in the world, went on sale exclusively in 130 Tesco stores this week (rsp: £1/pack).

The Reaper - which is being commercially grown for Tesco in the UK for the first time - had its heat level rated at 1.5 million Scoville units by the Guinness Book of Records, though independent testing has recorded an even higher heat rating, at 2.2 million Scovilles, Tesco said - or about 400 times hotter than a jalapeno pepper.

It follows the launch by Tesco last year of the Komodo Dragon chilli pepper, which had a heat rating of 1.4 million Scovilles.

But despite it being “astonishingly hot”, the Carolina Reaper also had “a wonderful fruity taste”, said Tesco chilli pepper buyer Phoebe Burgess. “Only a sliver is needed to add exciting flavour to your favourite curry.”

“Chilli pepper culture has become very popular in the UK over the last five years,” said Salvatore Genovese, who grows the pepper for Tesco from his Bedfordshire farm.

“The fantastic success of the Komodo Dragon proved that Brits are among the world’s greatest lovers of chilli peppers.”