The Datil: St. Augustine's Famous Chili Pepper
If you've spent any time in St. Augustine, you have likely heard of the datil pepper. The Datil is a small hot pepper and is a variety of the species capsicum chinensehe, which is also known as a "Yello Lantern Chili." The pepper is often found in many Minorcan recipes, such as Minorcan clam chowder, which can be enjoyed at various local restaurants. In fact, there is such a debate over which establishments has the best chowder that there is a fun annual event called The Great Chowder Debate held at the Conch House every November. If you are ever in St. Augustine during that time be sure to check it out. There is live music, drinks, and many different types of chowders from local restaurants that can each be sampled for $1. After indulging, you can vote on your favorites giving them a chance to win the People's Choice award. According to visitstaugustine.com "This local tradition began in 1984, when founder and owner of The Conch House, David Ponce, and his chef debated whether Minorcan or New England clam chowder was better. The decision was made to let the community decide, and The Great Chowder Debate was born."
Many people in St. Augustine, including my family, have datil peppers growing in their gardens and many local businesses use them in products like jellies, sauces, pickles, and spice blends like our Datil Citrus Salt grinder pictured below with our other two grinder varieties. Pictured below is also one of our favorite hot sauce companies, A Frame Sauce.
We are currently working on a special Datil BBQ Rub for our good friend Spencer, who is an amazing BBQ chef and has started a business called Smokin' Spencer's Creative Q. His food truck is currently being custom built for him and will hit the streets this summer of 2020! You can follow him on Instagram @smokinspensersq . He also makes an amazing sweet, smoky, and spicy bbq sauce using the Datil Pepper as well.
Datil Peppers are unique in flavor with a heat similar to the habenero and a sweet and smoky flavor. This famous pepper is also unique to St. Augustine and very rare to find anywhere else. In fact, almost any datil pepper product you could find is produced right here in our lovely little town and many people that we meet visiting St. Augustine who want to take home something that truly represents the nation's oldest city purchase our Datil Citrus Salt or our Coffee BBQ Rub!