Does the hardcore version of the popular protein snack live up to the suggestions of mouth-searing chilli brutality?
You are doubtless familiar with the Peperami. The vegetarian-baiting bit of an animal salami stick that is some sort of reconstituted pork with a smell that will let everyone in the room know exactly what you are eating the moment you tear a packet open. Perhaps an acquired taste, but one that I seem to have acquired without ever being quite sure if I actually like it. But it’s a good protein boost, and who doesn’t need that?
Peperami, for the most part, comes in two varieties for the average supermarket shopper. The depressingly bland standard edition, which everyone should avoid, and the Hot, which is the more agreeable, perhaps because it has a spicy kick that adds a certain bite to the proceedings. But there is a third, lesser-spotted variety, the Fire Stick. Wrapped in black packaging – the colour of choice for everyone to designate extra-hot after they pissed away red on the bog-standard regular hot versions – it definitely looks imposing and unsurprisingly is easier to find in the pub, where it can be consumed as an act of drunken bravado with the knowledge that your pint will cool things down. Finding a five-pack in Asda felt something of a coup, and who am I to say no to anything both novel and fiery, particularly at half price?
Let’s cut to the chase: if you are expecting the fire stick to be some sort of throat-shredding, vomit-inducing Reaper chilli pain experience, you will probably be disappointed. Or relieved. And the vomit part will all depend on your taste for processed meats, of course. But as a heat experience, this is on the manageable side of hardcore – certainly a fair amount hotter than the regular hot version, but not the sort of thing that will leave you rolling on the floor praying for death. Those of you who are heat wusses might think differently, but these are essentially Peperami Hot Plus rather than a stand-alone beast. Not quite all mouth and trousers perhaps, but not quite the assault on the senses that you might hope. Still, given the choice, I’d go for these over the others. Every little bit of heat counts, after all.
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