SOME of the spiciest chillis in the world were on the menu at the first Oxfordshire Chilli Festival.

More than a thousand people poured through Abingdon Market Place on Saturday, some more adventurous than others.

From 10am, the town centre was filled with stalls selling chillis from around the world, hot sauces and other spicy delicacies.

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In the afternoon, Abingdon resident Peter Brown, above, wowed judges in the chilli-eating competition by winning without breaking a sweat.

Chilli fanatic Tony Ainsworth travelled from his Hampshire home to judge the contest and was impressed by what he saw.

Mr Ainsworth, 34, an IT support consultant who goes by the name Darth Naga, said: “It was insane, he was a chilli-eating machine.

“In the final round we pulled out the wild card – a hot sauce called Extreme Prejudice which rates four million on the Scoville scale.”

The scale, named after Wilbur Scoville who created it in 1912, rates the heat of chillis, from 100 for a pimento up to two million for pepper spray.

Mr Ainsworth said: “He just necked it straight away.”

Mr Brown, 28, who lives in Blacknall Road, Abingdon, and won £20 in the contest said: “I told him I would win it straight away.

“I have always loved chillis.”

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Charles Salter clearly wishes he hadn’t tried this one

He said his favourite place for spicy food in Abingdon is the Prince of India on Ock Street.

The festival was organised by spicy food fan and mum-of-three Dawn Massam, who lives on Caldecott Road, Abingdon.

The idea was sparked when she was having a conversation with her friend, Mr Ainsworth, in November.

He asked why Oxfordshire did not have a chilli festival, and she pledged on the spot to organise the first.

Ms Massam, 34, mum to Maisie, 12, Oliver, four, and three-year-old Annabel, said: “It was marvellous and surpassed all expectations.”

Robert Foote finds the competition tough going at the first Oxfordshire Chilli Festival as these series of pictures show below.


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