Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chile Festival

We have discovered something that we love about Colorado that isn't incredibly well known: its local chiles! Every year Pueblo, a town a little south of us, has a terrific little festival to celebrate these tasty peppers. The whole town smells of delicious roasting chiles (if you have never experienced that-you should, it makes my mouth water!) Jocelyn loves it because she can collect all the free junk "treasures".

I love it because we can eat! I am developing a fondness for street food, due to excessive viewing of television shows such as, "The Great Food Truck Race" and also my dear husband, who loves food from any type of establishment that looks as if it might fail an inspection by a blind Health Department employee. Anyway, the first tasty morsel we tried was a regional favorite: the Slopper. It is the bottom of a hamburger bun, a beef patty and generous helpings of green chile, cheese and onion. It looks terrible, tasted great.

I was completely fascinated by the beautiful "ristras"- bunches of fresh chiles strung together, to be used for decor and cooking. They were so coloful! If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see my favorite ones: the multicolored tiny chiles on the end.

This man was in the process of constructing a ristra. It is pretty time consuming to hand tie each chile- that probably explains the hefty price tag! (The large ones were $30+). He was obviously a pro; he was working very quickly.

The chiles can be purchased fresh, but we prefer ours to be roasted. The workers put bushels of chiles into the roasting drums and rotate them over high flames. It is hotter than blue blazes next to them! However, that is not why he is hosing them off. Once the chiles are properly blackened, they run cold water over them to wash off the skin. Then another worker shovels away the remains from the ground. It is kind of like being in the vicinity of a fire- you can get covered in ash if you stand too close!

I tried all day to get a decent photo of the kids. Not happening! It was a little too warm and sunny for smiling.

See all that delicious, beautiful chile goodness? And you cannot imagine the smell...

Joel always has to sample a few to choose the proper heat level. He tried a medium, declared it not the slightest bit hot, and decided to try "Dynomite"- the hottest pepper available at this particular stand. He spent about 5 minutes choking, sweating and coughing before he opted for hot variety- pleasantly in the middle.

The highlight of my day-bar none- was my chile sundae. Chocolate chile ice cream, covered in habenero hot fudge, topped with a chile gummy. DIVINE! It had the tiniest bit of heat, but it was not at all unpleasant. I could have eaten two of these myself. It was wonderful. Don't judge unless you have tried one. Now I understand how they can say that chiles and chocolate are complimentary. It was sweet, and a little spicy, and chocolately, and wonderful....

I love the piles of fresh chiles. You can choose your variety and they throw it in the roaster while you are waiting. There are chiles everywhere- fitting, considering the event!

My little goofball got his balloon stuck in his sunglasses and couldn't figure how to get it out!

The last treat of the day (I didn't include photos of our chile wrap and fresh ear of corn-yum!) was a pink lemonade shaved ice. It was delicious-good thing it was huge!

We cooled off with our shaved ice by the Riverwalk, my most favorite part of Pueblo. It reminds me of the San Antonio Riverwalk- except much less hectic! It is beautiful, and there is always plenty of shade. One day I want to take a boatride on it.

My little dude was fascinated by the water. He looked so peaceful. He dragged that blue balloon around all day-it was sweet.

This sight made me crack up! It is so Colorado- snowboards and boots in a water fountain. They had been placed there by a booth peddling outdoor gear. It is 92 degrees- but they were doing a steady business!

Back to the car after a fun day, with full tummies. The best way to end any adventure!


  1. Oh my gosh that sounds totally wonderful. And I didn't think any of the food looked gross. In fact, I'm starving so it all looked incredibly delicious :) I bet your dad would have loved it because he's such a spicy-hot food fan!!!

    Thanks for the adorable photos. I love the one of your family walking towards the car. So darling!

    You're like really is the simple things in life that are the best. I adore time with my little family of 4 and making memories is the best!

  2. I am SO jealous! All those visits to Colorado and I have never been to Pueblo. Plus all the food sounded amazing!

  3. We've been trying to make it to the Riverwalk ALL Summer and haven't managed to yet!!! Very jealous. We've been before but wanted to take N this time :) It looked like fun!! Cute pics - looks like a fun festival!!

    ~ Jen

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  6. This looked so fun. I liked the lemonade "ice". It looked delicious. Grandma Kaye would have loved the hanging "chilies. Your Dad would love the whole experience. The photos are adorable as always!



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