TABASCO®!!!!!

"The diet of the Reconstruction South was bland and monotonous, especially by Louisiana standards. So Edmund McIlhenny decided to create a pepper sauce to give the food some flavor and excitement."  This quote taken from Edmund McIlhenny's recipe book.  The sauce would become a culinary phenomenon world-wide.  Production of TABASCO® takes place on Avery Island and has been a successful family business since its inception.  We were excited to tour the factory and have lunch at 1865, a restaurant where you will find a bit of the sauce in every item offered.

 As we walked up to the Museum to get our tickets we saw this great opportunity!  My first thought was "No room at our house."  My next thought was, "Hmmm, Tabasco must be a fermented item."

As we walked up to the Museum to get our tickets we saw this great opportunity!  My first thought was "No room at our house."  My next thought was, "Hmmm, Tabasco must be a fermented item."

 We started at the General Store.  Right inside the door . . . Further back you can buy all things Tabasco related.

We started at the General Store.  Right inside the door . . . Further back you can buy all things Tabasco related.

 The tour starts in the Museum.  That is where you get the early history of the country and begin to realize just what a cultural phenomenon this sauce has been through its entire history.

The tour starts in the Museum.  That is where you get the early history of the country and begin to realize just what a cultural phenomenon this sauce has been through its entire history.

 "McIlhenny grew his first commercial pepper crop in 1868. The next year, he sent out 658 bottles of sauce at one dollar apiece wholesale to grocers around the Gulf Coast, particularly in New Orleans.  He labeled it “Tabasco” a word of Mexican Indian origin believed to mean 'place where the soil is humid' or 'place of the coral or oyster shell'. McIlhenny secured a patent in 1870, and TABASCO® Sauce began its journey to set the culinary world on fire. Sales grew, and by the late 1870s, he sold his sauce throughout the U.S. and even in Europe." This information comes from the company's web site.

"McIlhenny grew his first commercial pepper crop in 1868. The next year, he sent out 658 bottles of sauce at one dollar apiece wholesale to grocers around the Gulf Coast, particularly in New Orleans.  He labeled it “Tabasco” a word of Mexican Indian origin believed to mean 'place where the soil is humid' or 'place of the coral or oyster shell'. McIlhenny secured a patent in 1870, and TABASCO® Sauce began its journey to set the culinary world on fire. Sales grew, and by the late 1870s, he sold his sauce throughout the U.S. and even in Europe." This information comes from the company's web site.

Video shown in Museum.  Gives an excellent overview of the process.

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 With a reference to Louisiana's love of 'carnival' or Mardi Gras.

With a reference to Louisiana's love of 'carnival' or Mardi Gras.

 The white oak barrels are re-used.  These are waiting to be cleaned up and repaired.  When the barrel is no longer usable it is made into wood chips for barbecuing!

The white oak barrels are re-used.  These are waiting to be cleaned up and repaired.  When the barrel is no longer usable it is made into wood chips for barbecuing!

 The white oak barrels are sealed and salt placed on top.  The mash ferments in the barrels for three years.

The white oak barrels are sealed and salt placed on top.  The mash ferments in the barrels for three years.

 This was a large sculpture hanging on a wall near the entrance to the production line.

This was a large sculpture hanging on a wall near the entrance to the production line.

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 These are the mixing vats where the fermented pepper mash is stirred continuously with other ingredients for up to three weeks.

These are the mixing vats where the fermented pepper mash is stirred continuously with other ingredients for up to three weeks.

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 Salt evaporated from brine springs on the island and was harvested and sold in the late 1700s.  Workmen enlarging one of the springs in 1862 ran into solid salt at a depth of 16 feet.  A mining operation was set up, the first in this country, to mine salt on a large scale.  Mining continued until destruction of the salt mines in April of 1863 by Union soldiers.  This is an exhibit on the tour depicting activity in the salt mine.

Salt evaporated from brine springs on the island and was harvested and sold in the late 1700s.  Workmen enlarging one of the springs in 1862 ran into solid salt at a depth of 16 feet.  A mining operation was set up, the first in this country, to mine salt on a large scale.  Mining continued until destruction of the salt mines in April of 1863 by Union soldiers.  This is an exhibit on the tour depicting activity in the salt mine.

 At the end of the tour we walked into the tasting room.  The special 'taste' of the day was Chipotle Tabasco®.  To best taste a sauce it is recommended that a simple soda cracker is used with just a bit of butter.  Just a few drops of the sauce is all one needs.  Suggestions included adding to salad dressings, mac n cheese, and even potato salad!  After the tasting we had to go back to the store for one more bottle of the good sauce!

At the end of the tour we walked into the tasting room.  The special 'taste' of the day was Chipotle Tabasco®.  To best taste a sauce it is recommended that a simple soda cracker is used with just a bit of butter.  Just a few drops of the sauce is all one needs.  Suggestions included adding to salad dressings, mac n cheese, and even potato salad!  After the tasting we had to go back to the store for one more bottle of the good sauce!

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 Avery Island is home not only to the McIlhenny and Avery families but also to generations of company employees and their families.  In 1905 a second factory was constructed on the Island and a village was built nearby to provide housing for factory workers.  The village had its own dance hall where workers could socialize and dance their favorite dance, the tango.  Eventually the name Tango was given to the whole village.  Many employees still reside in the Tango. Some present-day workers are third and even fourth generation company employees.

Avery Island is home not only to the McIlhenny and Avery families but also to generations of company employees and their families.  In 1905 a second factory was constructed on the Island and a village was built nearby to provide housing for factory workers.  The village had its own dance hall where workers could socialize and dance their favorite dance, the tango.  Eventually the name Tango was given to the whole village.  Many employees still reside in the Tango. Some present-day workers are third and even fourth generation company employees.

TABASCO® sauce has had a very close relationship with the U. S. military.  John Avery McIlhenny joined the Rough Riders during the Spanish American War and his sonsserved in the Marine Corps Reserve during World War II.  Aviators in WW II, Korean and Vietnam Wars used the word TABASCO in nicknaming their airplanes.  Troops in Korea received special three-ounce bottles of the sauce and Vietnam soldiers spiced up their mundane field rations with the same sauce.

 If you search the company's web site you will find numerous recipes for entrees, beverages and marinades.  They all feature some flavor of the sauce.

If you search the company's web site you will find numerous recipes for entrees, beverages and marinades.  They all feature some flavor of the sauce.

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I now have a few more bottles of 'sauce' than I have room for in my small pantry.  But, no more dull food in this coach!!  If you hear my tongue screaming just ignore it!!