When you go to a “fine dining” restaurant during white truffle season, you expect to pay through the nose for a whiff of ambrosia. But when you order a dish made with chilis your expectations are somewhat tamer even if the spice level is not.
Unless the pepper in question is the Aji Charapita, in which case all bets are off. The berry, native to the jungles of northern Peru, sells for an unheard of $35,000 a kilo. At roughly $16,000 a pound, that’s about 13 times the price of saffron on the American market.
The Aji Charapita also proves the maximum that hot things come in small packages. Each berry is about the size of a pea.
According to Oddity Central, the Aji Charapita has only recently begun to be cultivated for commercial use. The chili is said to have a strong fruity flavor and packs between 50,000 and 100,000 Scoville units, the scale for measuring “heat” in chilis. As a means of comparison, fiery Habanero chilis come in at around 555,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), while Seranos pack between 10,000 and 20,000 SHU.