In the historic & scenic river town of Madison Indiana, lies a gem of chile pepper culture- the Indiana Hotluck & Fiery Foods Expo. It will be celebrating it’s 17th year of existence next year, and this post concerns a description and re-cap of this years, the 16th.
For those of you that have never heard the term before, a ‘hotluck’ is like a potluck but featuring spicy dishes. Hotlucks have a long history on the email group [CH] Chileheads, and have been held all over the country. Most are simple affairs, hosted by chileheads in their own home. The ‘cost’ of admission is to simply bring a chile related dish, a recipe (if you can’t cook), or to just bring a plain love of spicy things and the willingness to chat about all things chile with anyone & everyone. The Indiana Hotluck was built on that tradition with a few differences. The first of these is that it is hosted at a commercial establishment- the Thomas Family Winery- and is a two day long event, featuring the hotluck on Friday evening and the Fiery Foods Expo on Saturday. The Winery is run by Steve & Elizabeth Thomas, both of home are chile afficianados themselves. More information on the winery can be found here: http://www.thomasfamilywinery.us/ The first day of the event (evening, really) is the ‘hotluck’ portion. Folks from a three state radius bring in all manner of spicy and not so spicy foods. Wander up & down the tables & eat anything you like! The second difference is that the hotluck also features a fiery foods expo, showcasing several small chile and spicy foods manufacturers. In any given year you might find CaJohn’s Fiery Foods, Urban Chef’s, Mild to Wild, Tiki Jenny’s Salsa, Hoboken Eddie, or any of several other folks vending their wares on the second day. Live music is provided Saturday evening, and the leftovers (if there are any) are brought out for lunch. Steve Thomas usually serves up brisquet or pork butt for dinner that has been slow cooked and smoked the entire day. Indeed, the aroma of hickory smoked pork usually entices quite a few folks in off the street who just happen to be wandering by! Quite a number of chileheads gather for this event, most of whom have been attending for years. I expect you’ll see several of them post here. Another difference at this event is the presence of a salsa competition. This is strictly for amateurs, and has had as many as 32 fresh made salsas entered into the event.
So, if you’re in the mood for a great get away weekend that features an incredible array of spicy foods, wines, a beautiful old river town, and most of all GREAT PEOPLE, keep an eye out next year for the 17th Annual Indiana Hotluck and Fiery Foods Expo.
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