After leaving Texas we moseyed into Louisiana, headed toward New Orleans. But I just couldn’t drive through LA without visiting Avery Island, home of the Tabasco Factory! Ok, so anyone who knows me at all will attest to this: I like things HOT. I mean the kind of hot that would burn most people’s tongues off. So this place was a big deal for me, a mother ship of sorts.
We conveniently parked (and showered) in their parking lot then headed inside for a tour. Some cool things we learned: You will never find a Tabasco pepper plant more than one year old because they are refreshed every year (after a year they lose their dependability, in a sense). Every plant is hand selected for it’s seeds by a member of the McIlhenny family, and when the actual peppers are picked for processing, they must be such a specific color of ripeness that the pickers walk around with a small wooden stick painted that EXACT color.
Of course we got some wonderful samples after the tour, that included some really interesting stuff I never would have thought the Tabasco brand made… like ice cream, both Tabasco and jalapeño flavored! They also make some sauces I wouldn’t expect, like soy and teriyaki (I actually got the teriyaki).
It was a lot of fun overall, and we headed back to the bus with a restaurant-grade, 6-bottle caddy of different hot sauces. (and yes, I did have the hottest bloody mary of my life that evening.)