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Inaugural Ring of Fire Chilli Festival at the Mzansi Food & Drink Show PLUS two recipes to try!

24 April 2024

Get ready for a sizzling experience at the first ever Ring of Fire Chilli Festival, coming to the Mzansi Food & Drink Show in June.

Ring of Fire will boast a hot line-up for chilli enthusiasts, food lovers and families, with live demonstrations, chilli-themed workshops, food stalls serving up fiery delights and stands selling all things chilli. Whether you’re a seasoned chilli lover or a curious newbie, this festival promises to be a sizzling adventure!

South Africans certainly like their spice.

  • Spicy dishes with chillies such as piri-piri chicken and piri-piri prawns are South African favourites. Pil-Pil, Pili-Pili, Piri-Piri or Peri-Peri – it is Africa’s most famous flavour and one which has been exported from Southern Africa to the world thanks to companies such as Nando’s
  • Extra hot chilli sauce tops the list of special requests when South Africans order takeaways, according to a South African Uber Eats Cravings Report.
  • Soweto farmer, Phila Cele had his Chilli of Soweto added to the international Ark of Taste, making it the 45th on the list of species and products unique to South Africa. The Ark of Taste is an international catalogue of endangered heritage foods, which is maintained by the global Slow Food movement.
  • There’s gold in them little red peppers! Banhoek Chilli Oil was established in South Africa’s Western Cape winelands in 2017. What began as a passion project in a home kitchen has since grown into a thriving enterprise, and today Banhoek Chilli Oil is sold in stores across southern Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States as well as on Amazon.


So get ready to turn up the heat!

  • Ring of Fire National Championship: Witness the fieriest chilli enthusiasts battle it out with the Pod Challenge for the coveted title. Who can handle the heat and emerge victorious? Be there to find out.
  • Hot Wings Challenge: Think you can handle the spiciest wings in town? Prove your mettle in this tongue-tingling challenge. Warning: Tears may flow!
  • Best Sauce Challenge: Sample an array of zesty sauces and vote for your favourite. From tangy to volcanic, these sauces will set your taste buds ablaze.
  • Hot Chip Challenge: Brace yourself for the hottest potato chips you’ve ever encountered. Can you handle the burn?
  • Challenge Your Children: Dads, step up! Take on spicy challenges alongside your children. Who will be the ultimate chilli champion in the family?

Unlike previous food festivals, the Mzansi Food & Drink Show will offer visitors a number of diverse and exciting shows all under one roof. As well as Ring of Fire, these include:

  • Coffee & Chocolate Expo – which will celebrate the irresistible combination of coffee and chocolate.
  • Fire & Feast - a meat lovers heaven offering a mouthwatering experience of meats of all kinds as well as braais, butcher demos and outdoor delights.
  • Fine Food & Wine – where visitors can elevate their palate with exquisite food pairings and premium South African wines.
  • Bar & Good Spirits – showcasing a range of popular spirits as well as mixology skills, and craft beverages.
  • Mzansi Food Market - a marketplace filled with gastronomic delights, new products, tastings and samples for those with an insatiable desire to stock their pantry with the best foodstuffs in the country.

Food and drink fans eager to get their hands on tickets for the year’s biggest and best culinary extravaganza, can book their tickets HERE.

In the meantime, try these chilli recipes at home and get your taste buds tingling in anticipation of the Ring of Fire Festival!

Devilishly Hot Nachos


  • 5 rashers of bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 large red chili, chopped
  • 1 large green chili chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¾ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 300ml beef broth
  • 425g dark red kidney beans, lightly rinsed and drained
  • 425g black beans, lightly rinsed and drained
  • 400g diced tomatoes undrained
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • I large bag nachos chips
  • Sour cream/guacamole/grated cheese to serve


Place chopped bacon in a large pot and cook over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel. Into the same pot, add the onion and pepper and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds), then add the beef, breaking apart with a spatula as you cook. Once meat is partially browned, add the sugar and all spices (chili powders, paprika, cumin, onion powder, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper) and stir well. Add all remaining ingredients — beef broth, beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, chilis and Worcestershire sauce, cooked bacon and stir well.

Bring to a boil and cook for a minute or two, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.When ready to serve, spread a layer of nachos chips on the bottom of a large platter and spoon a third of the chili mince on top. Repeat two more times, finishing with chili mince topping. Add grated cheese, and dollops of sour cream and guacamole and – if you are really adventurous and bold - garnish with thin slices of fresh chili.

Cook’s Tip: You can reduce/increase the amount of chili used in the recipe to suit your tastebuds! Any leftover mince can be refrigerated, reheated the next day in the microwave and spread over slices of toast, with a fried egg on top.

Pomegranite & Chilli Cocktail


  • 200g caster sugar
  • 250g pomegranate rubies
  • 3 red chillies, halved lengthways
  • 100ml pomegranate juice
  • 150ml tequila
  • 125ml Cointreau
  • 6 limes limes, juiced
  • 1 lime, sliced


Place the sugar in a saucepan with 400ml water, add most of the pomegranate seeds and all the chillies and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 8-10 minutes, until thickened slightly. Set aside to cool then strain, discarding the chillies and seeds.

Mix 75ml of the pomegranate syrup with the pomegranate juice, tequila, Cointreau and lime juice. Taste and add a little more syrup if needed. Fill glasses with ice, add a slice or two of lime and sprinkle over remaining pomegranate seeds, then pour over the mixture and serve.


The Mzansi Food & Drink Show
Kyalami Convention Centre
Saturday, 15 June, from 09h00 to 18h00
Sunday, 16 June (Youth Day and Father’s Day) from 09h00 to 18h00
Monday, 17 June from 09h00 to 17h00

Learn more: