Hot Bitch at the Beach. Kiss Your Ass Goodbye. Widow Maker. Scorned Woman. Witch’s Brew. The names of heavy metal garage bands? Hardly, these are just a pinch of the plethora of “Pain is Good” inspired products on display at the National Fiery Foods Show held every March.

Begun in 1988, this is a combination trade and public show. 13,000 people show up every year from growers to manufacturers to retailers to Joe fiery food enthusiasts who want to bomb their bellies with products made mainly from habanero peppers. “Some of the most popular products today are in the snack foods arena,” says show organizer Dave DeWitt. “We’re talking everything from ice cream to cookies to chocolates to hard candy.” Some of the more interesting products include quail eggs, vodka, tequila, popcorn and pancake mix. There are also lots of non-food products such as clothing, books and underwear. “Basically anything with a chili-pepper emblazoned theme,” DeWitt says.

There are also cooking demonstrations by noted chefs like Paul Prudhomme and the gumbo-cooking blues band Bill Wharton & The Ingredients. But what’s the big draw? “The super hot sauces continue to be the most controversial,” says DeWitt. “These are some of the same active ingredients that are used in the medical field to treat arthritis. And cops spray this stuff on crooks to help restrain them.” If you’re one of the 13,000 who will pay $7 to cruise around the complex, inquire about what alarm the morsel is you’re about to throw in your mouth.

When: March every year
Where: Albuquerque, NM, U.S.A

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