Austinites have been devouring Hatch chiles for more than 25 years.
Although Chuy’s gets the claim of being the first to bring in Hatch chiles to put on its menu, Central Market’s festival started in 1995, and now extends to all stores statewide.
Although this year’s New Mexico’s annual Hatch Chile Festival has been canceled for the first time ever, Central Market’s celebration will be taking place, mostly as planned, and for a longer period of time.
For the first time, the store’s Hatch festival will take place over three weeks, starting August 5 and ending August 25, with more than 330,000 pounds of peppers brought from New Mexico to nine Central Market locations in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. (A Dallas-area store was damaged by a tornado last year and is undergoing construction.)
Some of those peppers will be sold roasted, while others will be available fresh in the produce aisle, and customers can find more than 400 specialty grocery goods that feature those classic green Anaheim peppers, including Hatch aioli, Hatch kettle corn, Hatch bone broth, Hatch Brazilian cheese bread, Hatch beef jerkey and even Hatch jam. (Central Market’s parent company, H-E-B, offers a handful of Hatch products in its stores, but not nearly as many as Central Market.)
Another first: Central Market’s tech team has created GIFs so customers can show their Hatch love on Instagram, and in a true sign of the times, you can even download a Hatch background for Zoom.
For many years, Central Market hosted a cooking competition to see what home cooks could do with Hatch peppers, and the store released a few cookbooks with some of the recipes. Some of those winning and memorable recipes are now available on centralmarket.com, and they’ll also be distributing recipe cards in the stores.