Word of mouth: Chilli Factory

Do you like it hot?

Anyone who has taste tested the Chilli Factory's famous hot sauce, Scorpion Strike, will vouch in panted breaths with streams of tears that this is not a sauce to be taken lightly.

It was created from the Trinidad Scorpion Butch Taylor Chilli that tops the scale of chilli fruits with a steaming score of 1,463,700 on the Scoville Scale of heat.

The jalapenos from Subway that make me cry like a little girl score a meagre 10,000 in comparison, so you can understand why I was worried about stripping my stomach lining with the incredible heat that the sauce can pack.

Alex, Marcel and Connie de Wit, originally from the Netherlands, were inspired to grow the chillies, supplied by Butch Taylor, because they couldn't get anything that was quite as hot.

Initially the chillies were just a hobby, grown in the backyard of their Morisset home.

Marcel would then create the sauces and products with his wife Connie, in their kitchen.

At the local markets he would completely sell out of Chilli Factory products and have people back for more.

Thirteen years later the Chilli Factory grows thousands of plants in two locations with customers all around the world.

"We didn't expect this type of growth," says Alex, Marcel's brother.

"Now we sell to gourmet markets, butchers, pie shops, pizza stores."

Intent on keeping the stress of large-scale production at bay, The Chilli Factory has declined offers to supply chain stores and grocery outlets.

Out in the fields, the hundreds of chilli plants looked worse for wear.

Swarming with mozzies and surrounded by mud, the plants that were scorched-to-within-an-inch-of-their-lives during record temperatures, are now slightly squashed and damp after recent torrential rain.

"They normally look better than this," Alex says.

"These ones [in Morisset] were only replanted the year before last due to rains.

"We have lost almost 90 per cent of our plants in Bundaberg [Queensland], due to this rain too," he says.

Damage to the hothouse and plants at their property means the de Wit brothers have their work cut out for them.

Marcel, who can be found dragging tree branches and debris from between the plants is described by brother Alex as far more daring when it comes to chillies.

"Marcel doesn't wear gloves to pick the chillies, when I'm picking I wear gloves or my fingers fall off," Alex says.

"He wears thongs so the juices get all over him too," he says.

A lot of time and effort goes into growing the plants, creating the product and selling it all, but one of the most important steps is creating the labels and names.

"They [the labels] take a lot of time and thought," Alex says.

With names like Funnel Web, Sweet Dreams, Kangaroo Punch, Morning After Burn, Scorpion Strike and Dragon's Breath, the company has become well known.

These sauces range from a score of one out of 10 to a whopping 15 out of 10 to allow customers to choose their perfect level of discomfort.

Testimonials on the company's website prove that people from all around the world love the creations. They scream praise and encourage the quest for hotter products.

Although the business has changed exponentially, many things remain the same.

The Chilli Factory is still a family-run business, grown from a love of chilli and as much thought and consideration goes into creating the sauces as it used to.

Personally, I plan to stick with Echidna Prickle that rates a lowly 1/10.

To buy the hot sauces visit thechillifactory.com.

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