Chilis are a very hot variety of peppers grown that originated in Latin and South America but are cultivated around the world today–even in flower pots on balconies. In South America it has been known since antiquity but only arrived in Europe during medieval times as a substitute for black pepper which was more expensive as it came from Asia.
Chili owes its heat to a compound known as capsaicin which prompts various physical reactions like perspiring. This is the main reason hot foods are consumed in hot climates, as strange as that may sound. Chili may also help prevent atherosclerosis as it blocks fat oxidation.
In cooking, chili is used mainly in savory dishes. Like many spices, its flavor intensifies during cooking.
Chili is also available in professional size.