The world’s hottest pepper is grown in Serbia
The world’s largest crop of Carolina Reapers - considered to be the hottest pepper in existence – is now primarily grown at the base of a mountain in southern Serbia.
First developed in Southern California, the Reaper pepper boasts an average of 1.6 million heat units on the Scoville scale.
Grown by Aleksander Tanic, the pepper’s greenhouse is often under several layers of snow. But despite the temperatures, Tanic says there is no issue growing the peppers in the area.
"We have a good climate here," says the 36-year-old former electrician. "I don't know why, but the peppers are better and bigger and maybe even hotter here".
Tanic first researched growing the peppers "out of love for cooking and spicy food," he says. He began tasting varieties from the US, the Caribbean, South America and Asia, before settling on the Carolina Reaper.
"I used to think that I was eating spicy food before, but after I tried these sorts of chillies I realised that I had never tasted true hotness," he says.
Tanic now grows more than 15 types of chillis, including the Trinidad Moruga Scorpio, which has 1.2 million heat units. He – along with his friends – grind up the chillies and bottle them to create ultra-spicy sauces.
When the snow melts next summer, Tanic has decided to put on his very own chilli-eating competition, meant to showcase just how hot some of his sauces can be.