I don’t like to be surprised by my food, except in the sense of “Oh, this is better than I thought it would be.” I do not want an unknown ingredient to renders my food a completely different flavor from what I’d expected, ergo, I don’t like Beanboozled jelly beans or mystery-flavor snacks. Life is unpredictable enough. I realize this may make me a stick in the mud.
I recognize, however, that other people must love the thrill of the unknown, and are completely willing to pay money for the possibility of eating an exceedingly hot pepper-spiked slice of pizza. This Halloween, stores in both Japan and the U.K. are selling pizzas in which only one slice contains ghost peppers, billing them as a sort of Russian Roulette-style dare. In the U.K., Morrisons supermarket chain has brought back its “trick or treat pizza,” which it launched a few years ago, in which one slice contains a sauce made with Scotch bonnet and ghost peppers. In Japan, Dominos debuted its Halloween Roulette option, which also spikes one mystery slice of any regular pizza with ghost pepper sauce.
Ghost peppers are one of the spiciest peppers on earth, packing roughly 1 million Scoville heat units; habaneros, by contrast, clock in between 150,000-350,000 SHUs. As this Serious Eats piece notes, chefs should wear gloves, long sleeves, and a mask when handling ghost peppers.
If that sounds like an ingredient you’d want to encounter in your pizza, well, my best to you. I’ll be over here, in my safe, predictable corner, celebrating Halloween the right way: with candy corn.