DENVER (CBS4) – The long-fought-over question is back: Who has the better chile? Colorado or New Mexico? Our neighbor neighboring state to the south is adding fuel to the fire with a new add claiming they’re the “Chile Capital of the World.”
“Why is New Mexico the only true green chile? Because we’ve been doing this for hundreds of years, growing chiles in the perfect climate – rocky, rugged soil – where only the strong survive.”
The ad not only tries to highlight the tradition in New Mexico but it also takes aim at Colorado and the desire for people to travel south just to bring back home some hatch chiles. The ad features a man loading crates of chiles into the back of a Subaru with a Colorado license plate that reads “NATIVE.”
“So that our less fortunate neighbors to the north can load up their wagons and keep their families warm, hot or mild, all winter long,” the voice goes onto say in the ad.
When CBS4 asked Colorado Gov. Jared Polis his opinion about the “attack ad,” he issued the following statement:
“The fact that they have to design a promotional campaign in support of their chiles shows how superior the Pueblo chile is. Our Pueblo chile promotes itself. Granting yourself a title doesn’t simply make it true. One thing is for certain, Coloradans know the Pueblo chile is the best chile in the world.”
The 2019 Chile War got heated after governors from both states spoke out on social media earlier this summer.
Gov. Polis shared an article from Pueblo Magazine touting Colorado’s chile — while calling New Mexico’s inferior.
It didn’t take much longer for the two states finding themselves in an agricultural “war.” The post crossed the state line and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham quoted an article from the Santa Fe New Mexican — firing back at Polis.
“If Colorado wants to go chile to chile, no question that New Mexico can bring the heat – Hatch chile is, has always been and will always be the greatest in the world,” she said.
Moments later, Polis responded with a wager… A chile taste-off in Trinidad.
If Pueblo chile were any good, it would have been on national shelves before now. If Colorado wants to go chile to chile, no question that New Mexico can bring the heat – Hatch chile is, has always been and will always be the greatest in the world. https://t.co/zBkkUPJPxL
— Michelle Lujan Grisham (@GovMLG) July 10, 2019
Reaction has been widespread — Coloradans, New Mexicans, Coloradans with New Mexico roots, New Mexicans with Coloradan roots — and all of the rest in between going at it.
“Some people for generations, they’ve been eating New Mexico chiles, and some Pueblo chiles,” said Juan Trujillo. “You have to give the public what it wants.”
Trujillo has managed to keep the peace by selling both chiles. CBS4 talked to him on Wednesday outside his stand on 1835 S. Federal. For the past six years, he has worked with distributors to bring each variety to customers. He says they both have flavor advantages depending what dish you want to prepare.
“They’re both so delicious to me,” he said. “Just enjoy it, it’s all good
Since both chiles are good for business, Trujillo suggests trying both or mixing them together. He thinks the Pueblo chile is better for Chile Relleno but for green chili with pork he would use New Mexico.
“Which one would you pick? Not even a contest. Colorado gray chile or legit green chile from the Hatch Valley,” said one person on Twitter.
“My mom’s side of the family goes back generations in CO and my dad’s side of the family goes back generations in NM. I am uniquely qualified to answer this question, and the answer is
#PUEBLOCHILE all damn day!” Sen. Julie Gonzales said.
Aaron Calkins owns Lulu’s Farm in Brighton and The Chili Guys store off Federal Boulevard. He sells chile from both Hatch and Pueblo. He loves both, but says Colorado has the edge.
“When it comes to us we believe Colorado peppers roast much better and have much better flavor. And of course if you like it hot then Colorado is where it’s at,” he told CBS4.
Calkins also loves the fact that Colorado and New Mexico’s governors are taking the debate center stage. He says the publicity is good for both sides.
“I think it’s fantastic for the exposure on actual green chile and roasting green peppers. I think it’s fantastic.”