The mayor of London had a fiery encounter yesterday as chillies were on the agenda for him to sample at one of the biggest chilli farms in the UK.
Boris Johnson was taken for a tour around The Wiltshire Chilli Farm, in Melksham, before taking a bite out of one of the hottest chillies the farm grows, the Chocolate Habanero, twice the heat of a Scotch Bonnet.
“It was like being savaged by a bunny rabbit.” said Mr Johnson. “It was this innocent looking thing, who would've thought it could pack such a punch.”
Owner of the farm, Jamie Sythes, 36, grows thousands of chillies every year and has plans to expand the business to bigger premises in the future, he said: “A lot of people before the visit joked ‘feed him a really hot chilli’ and I didn’t actually expect to feed him a really hot chilli.
“But it’s not every day the Mayor of London comes to Wiltshire so it was pretty random and a bit surreal.”
Mr Johnson also praised the “very impressive and ambitious company” he said: “It just shows what a bit of imagination and ingenuity can pull off.”
He was joined by Michelle Donelan, the Conservative Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Chippenham, who is also reigning champion of the farm’s chilli eating competition.
Ms Donelan said: “It’s fantastic that within Wiltshire we have a producer developing chillies.
“When I was asked where to bring Boris I decided here because it is such a successful local enterprise story.”
"Having started from scratch they are looking to expand and create more local jobs for the area."
Mr Johnson, who had also stopped at other locations in Wiltshire to get an insight into local businesses, said: “Going around Wiltshire this afternoon has been very interesting and talking to people about how the economy is growing.
“Generally there is great deal of optimism, a great deal of confidence.
"The economy is always going to keep changing and adapting.”