Today there are many forms of Chocolate Habanero grown in tropical regions worldwide, from their original home in Mexico, the Caribbean Islands(particularly Jamaica), and Central America to the popular varieties found elsewhere such as the Jamaican Chocolate, the Senegal Hot Chocolate, and the Congo Black.
The Chocolate Habanero is a hotter pepper than its orange cousins, with experts at New Mexico State University once saying that it was the hottest pepper they had yet tested. Whereas the average Habanero ranges between 100-350,000 Scoville Heat Units, or SHU, the Chocolate Habanero in all of its many varieties ranges between 400-450,000 SHU.
The Chocolate Habanero, also known as the Black Habanero, is believed to have originated in Central America around 5000 BCE, and spread northward into Mexico and eastward into the Caribbean. They were originally called Xocolatl peppers by the native Nahuatl speaking peoples in the region, and when it was first sold by British spice traders in the 1800s, the name was corrupted to chocolate because they found Xocolatl too difficult to pronounce. Others simply called it the black Habanero.
Taste and Smell
This pepper has a richer flavor and a smokier aroma than the regular orange Habanero, is widely used in salsas, and is especially popular in making Jamaican jerk sauce.
These peppers prefer warm semi-tropical or tropical climates, and are often planted in March or April. It takes them approximately 100 days to grow and ripen from the time they are transplanted, which is a longer period than most of its cousins. They start life as small, emerald-green fruits that change color to their famous chocolate-brown as they mature. When fully grown, the peppers are 2 inches in length, making them slightly smaller than other Habanero species. They also have a more spherical shape than standard Habaneros. This is a perennial flowering plant like most peppers, and can live for many years if properly taken care of in warmer climates, though it can be treated like an annual if they are grown in more temperate latitudes. They prefer morning sun and slightly acidic soil with a pH level between 5-6.
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