The Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, NM

by Pamela

The Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, NM

Calling all you hatch chile lovers…Visit the Hatch Chile capitol of the world by going to the Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, New Mexico.

How did you spend your Labor Day weekend? By the pool? Cooking up some great bbq? Just relaxing for 3 days? I spent a part of mine in Hatch, New Mexico at the Hatch Chile Festival.

If you don’t know what Hatch chiles are, you must not have been paying attention at your local grocery store for the past month. Hatch chiles are a chile that’s from Hatch, NM (natch…from Hatch). They’ve got a great flavor and are available, fresh, only for about a month (August/September). The best way to eat them is roasted and a lot of grocery stores host chile roasts in their parking lots.

Once you’ve got the chiles roasted, you peel off the skin, remove the stem and seeds and put them in/on everything. You can also freeze them at this point for enjoying later. One of my favorite recipes is for this sweet corn hatch chile soup.

This festival is all about the Hatch chile. I thought I’d share some of my experience with you in today’s post.

Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, NM

Driving into Hatch there was a bit of a traffic jam. Cars were moving, but the line was long.

Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, NM

All along the drive, in Hatch, you’ll find roadside stands selling the fresh, dried and roasted chiles; ristras (the hanging chile peppers); local honey and pottery. Just pull over wherever you can find parking and walk a little bit to experience the different stands. They’re close enough together that you can usually walk to two or three of them before having to move your car.

Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, NM

You’ll  notice in this picture that the roof is all red and a little bumpy. This is where this store dries their chiles. There are red and green hatch chiles. The peppers are the same, they just let some of them turn red. These are used fresh or for the dried chiles.

Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, NM

Usually, when you buy Hatch chiles, you can get hot or mild. But when you’re in Hatch, NM you can get all the way up to extra hot. And they aren’t kidding when they call them extra hot! We noticed that these were very popular at the festival. I stand with the mild chile and Craig likes the hot. But even he couldn’t do the extra hot.

Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, NM

The festival charges $10 per car, regardless of how many people are inside. Once you get inside the festival you have your usual festival activities. The lemonade stand was a HUGE hit for us as it was 97 degrees the day we were there. Thankfully, it’s not very humid there so like they say…”it’s a dry heat.” Which was much more tolerable than 97 in Dallas.

Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, NM

One of the activities you could partake in was making your own ristra. A one foot ristra was $8 and a two foot ristra was $15. A pretty good deal. I didn’t make one because Craig reminded me that I didn’t have room in my carry-on, but I was dying to make one. It looked like once you got the hang of it, it was pretty easy to do. You can see that the woman on the left knew what she was doing because both of these ladies started at the same time. I’m sure I would have been more like the woman on the right and Craig just didn’t want to stand around all day while I tried to figure it out.

Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, NM

There was lots of salsa to be tasted. I lost track of how many we sampled but they were all delicious. Too bad we couldn’t take any home with us. 🙁

Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, NM

Just like on the drive through town, you could buy fresh or roasted chile peppers. These were huge (Craig’s hand is there so you can get an idea of how large these peppers are). The smell of roasted peppers is everywhere on the festival grounds. It smells really good too.

Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, NM

Of course, when you’re at the Hatch chile festival you must eat Hatch chiles. These were some delicious Hatch chile quesadillas that a church group was selling. You could get just plain cheese and pepper (hot or mild) or you could add refried beans to the mix. We went simple with chile and cheese so that we could better taste the chile.

Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, NM

But there were lots of products using the chile pepper. This is a HUGE selection of green and red chile brittles. Our favorite was the green chile pistachio brittle. We picked up a container of green chile and salt to sprinkle on our popcorn…among other things that I have ideas for.

Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, NM

Oh, and one of the stores in Hatch was selling this roaster so you could do your own Hatch chile roastings at home. Again…I only had a carry-on so this didn’t go home with me either.

So if you’re ever looking for something different to do over your Labor Day weekend, and you’re a fan of Hatch chile peppers, do yourself a favor and head on up to the Hatch Chile festival. It’s a delicious time!

 

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2 comments

John/Kitchen Riffs September 6, 2017 at 8:31 am

I’ve never been to the Hatch Chile Festival, but really need to get there — LOVE Hatch chilies! Great pictures, wonderful read — thanks!

Pamela September 6, 2017 at 9:06 am

Thanks John. It was a lot of fun.

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