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Chile, Chili, or Chilli

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Chile Chili Chilli

We have just over a month to go until the 20th Annual Chile & Frioles Festival! (September 19-21) So after a bit of discussion, we’ve decided to focus on our beloved Pueblo Chile for the next month! (Don’t worry – we’ll still be bringing you local events, but since we are ALL THINGS PUEBLO? We figured we should focus on the all important Pueblo Chile! )

While discussing which of our favorite chile recipes to feature (Like this delicious recipe for Pueblo Green Chile!) we decided that we needed to settle this debate first. Chile, Chili or Chilli? The Official Chile Fest site uses the “Chile” spelling. (Growing up, I always heard that Chile was the pepper, and Chili was the soup!) But I know that everyone I know uses different spellings, so I did a bit of investigating.

Sure, I know it doesn’t mean much in the scheme of things, but I thought it could be a fun way to kick off our Chile Season!

So what exactly are we debating? Capsicum Peppers – specifically Green Chile Peppers, ideally from Pueblo of course!

Before we really start? Let’s rule out Chilly. (Which wasn’t even technically in the running – but let’s throw it out there anyway!) According to my good friend, Miriam-Webster, Chilly is :  noticeably cold, feeling cold or noticeably unfriendly. (No mention of yummy peppers anywhere!)

Chilli is less commonly used, but still in the running. I found several articles and blogs referring to Chilli (with the double L ) being used by the Aztecs as describing a spicy fruit. One of the best blogs I found was this Spicelines post about the same topic, in which she points to Francisco Hernandez de Toledo and his writings. (I read a lot, but I have never ventured to read anything by King Phillip II’s physician!) So in a historical fashion, Chilli is indeed an acceptable spelling.

Chili is probably the most commonly used spelling. Although many foodie blogs, such as Hot Sauce Fever and MJ’s Kitchen, have come to the agreement that Chili is referring to the actual dish. A soup-like meal of meat, vegetables (especially chile’s) and a variety of spices and broth or water.

Chile overwhelmingly around the internet seems to be agreed upon as the proper spelling for the pepper.  (Although Grammarphobia seems to agree that either spelling is acceptable.)

Does it really matter which spelling you use? No, it doesn’t. Either way? Pueblo Chile Peppers are a huge part of our local culture, no way to overlook that! (Fun little fact – according to the Pueblo Chieftain? The Pueblo Chile is slighting hotter than the Jalapeno on the Scoville Scale – Jalapeno — 2,500-5,000 :  Pueblo — 5,000-6,000 : Serrano — 10,000-20,000 )

The area is known for its Pueblo chili, which is a mirasol type of pepper. It means “looking at the sun” in Spanish, Musso says. They are one of the few peppers that grow straight up, as opposed to New Mexico chilies that grow hanging down. –Colorado Springs Gazette 

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