Piri Piri (African Birdseye Chili) – 16 oz
The Peri-Peri pepper, a.k.a. the African bird’s eye chili. That would be African, right? Yep, but in a roundabout sort of way. Its metaphorical roots stretch back to South America – the world’s original source of all the chilies that ever followed. Africa’s chili may have been an adopted child, but over several centuries it developed its own independent identity. Here’s how it became a uniquely African chili:
In the late 1400s and on into the 1500s, pioneering Portuguese explorers and merchants began introducing South America’s chilies to far-flung places. First, to Africa and then further afield to India, Asia, and China. The origins of today’s wide variety of chilies and their globe-trotting travel during a phenomenon called ‘The Columbian Exchange’ (named after the intrepid Christopher) make a great story. But that’s for another day. And before we get to that spicily grilled chicken recipe, let’s first appreciate the story behind this African monikered chili.
It almost certainly reached its African home about 520 years ago, courtesy of the world-exploring Portuguese. Point and date of entry: Mozambique, 1498 – 1500.
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