Some things cannot be kept off the grocery list no matter how seemingly useless or indulgent they are. Like at home, for instance, we have two kinds of coffee – a decent, less expensive coffee for the weekdays and a slightly more expensive yet delicious kind that we can sip a little more idly on a quiet Saturday morning. It’s not that expensive (we haven’t drunk Starbucks since) and usually, a single purchase goes a long way.
This, of course, just doesn’t just apply to coffee. Over time, we’ve discovered spices and condiments that have become mainstays in the grocery list and the pantry.
Among them – Germano’s Chilli, which we can’t just get enough of even if our tongues are already burning.
This chili, which was discovered during a trade fair, is a mix of toasted garlic bits and chili in corn or olive oil that even with just a smidgen can burn your tongue, so a word of caution on not getting too excited and taking a tablespoon of chili right away. Getting the right amount will get you huffing like a dragon, but the flavor will keep you eating and adding more.
Unlike other chili garlic sauces, Germano’s Chilli has garlic bits that are crispy, adding taste and texture to the chili and making it easy to add in almost anything. At the house, we’ve added this in siomai, crabcakes, stews, etc, and it can last for month depending on how spicy you like your food.
Before it was ever available for stocking in pantries though, it was a favorite table condiment in the home of the Panlilios, the guys behind Germano’s Chilli.
“It was started in 2005 by my brother German,” says Gerome Panlilio, one of the guys behind Germano’s Chilli. “He loves to cook and made this in one of his forays in the kitchen. It then became a staple in our home and a favorite among visiting family & friends.”
The homemade chili got such a great response that Gerome and German decided to sell it in 2008 during a bazaar, where they got noticed and featured in ABS CBN’s show, Kabuhayang Swak na Swak, and eventually led German to take a culinary course and work abroad and Gerome to leave his stable job to learn the marketing side of the business.
Their venture paid off and today, Germano’s Chilli is sold in supermarkets all over Manila and even exported to Hong Kong, Palau, Spain and UK and even Canada by November.
It’s received plenty of raves (check out their FB page), but of course some have found it a little too hot.
“Those who were not though [into the chili] ran for water, then most of whom came back and still bought a bottle either for themselves or for someone,” says Gerome.
Those who loved the chili though could only rave and buy a bottle right away.
“One thing I noticed during bazaars is that we like a little bit of torture in our lives – at least the kind that l¬eaves us smiling,” Jerome says. “People who were ¬already into spicy stuff bought it within seconds.”
One comment though that stuck with him was one made by a guy at a bazaar.
“The guy that said it’s crazy good,” says Gerome.
To that we couldn’t agree more.
Available in selected Rustan’s Supermarkets, Puregold and Robinson’s supermarkets