|Scoville scale||100,000–300,000 SHU|
The datil is an exceptionally hot pepper, a variety of the species Capsicum chinense (syn. Capsicum sinense). Datils are similar in strength to habaneros but have a sweeter, fruitier flavor. Their level of spiciness may vary from 100,000 to 300,000 on the Scoville scale. Mature peppers are about 3.5 in long and yellow-orange in color.
Datil peppers are cultivated throughout the United States and elsewhere, but the majority are produced in St. Augustine, Florida. Many myths attempt to explain the origin of the Datil Pepper: some suggest the peppers were brought to St. Augustine by indentured workers from Minorca in the late 18th century, others posit that they were brought from Cuba around 1880 by a jelly maker named S. B. Valls, and there also exists the Legend of a 17th Century epicurean explorer by the name of Fernando Del Viejo. According to the myth, Fernando Del Viejo was commissioned by Queen Isabella of Spain (at the time called Castile) to travel with the conquistadors to help found the New World and grow Datil Peppers, as they once purportedly backed the Spanish Treasury due to their rarity and golden hue.
Some controversy has emerged over whether or not the true origin was resultant of the slave trade in St Augustine. The pepper is almost identical to a west African pepper called the fatalii or "fatal."
Datil peppers are used by the Minorcan community in many recipes. Many commercial manufacturers of datil pepper products are located in St. Augustine, which also has the annual Datil Pepper Festival. The datil is listed on Slow Food USA's Ark of Taste.
Datil Peppers are found in hot sauces and other food products. Some popular hot sauces include Snake Bite Datil Pepper Hot Sauce, A Frame Datil Pepper Sauce, Dat's Nice and Datil Do It. Other Datil Pepper products include jellies, mustard, and salsa like the one from Del Viejo Gourmet.
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