You guys. Avery Island, Louisiana is kind of the coolest place on earth. Especially if you like hot sauce 🙂
I just got back from an amazing trip down to Avery Island to learn everything there is to know about Tabasco. Not only am I even more obsessed with Tabasco (is that even possible?) but I’m basically in love with everyone that I met. It’s so refreshing and exciting to meet wonderful people working for a family run company who are just downright awesome. Each and every person that was involved in this trip was truly spectacular and made the few days we were there super memorable.
I can’t wait to start sharing all these fabulous recipe I dreamt up while there, and they will be here soon, but today I wanted to share my top 10 favorite things about the island! Besides the people of course, because I think we’ve already established the fact that they are awesome.
#1. Avery Island. This small island is beautiful.
#2. Alon Shaya of Domenica Restaurant in New Orleans. He came out to the island one of our days there for a fun cooking demo and then proceeded to make us, what I would call, one of the most amazing meals of my entire life. That pasta you see down there… life changing. Omg I could have eaten an entire vat of it by myself. No questions asked. If you’re in New Orleans you need to run to his restaurant immediately. And then order each and every pasta dish on the menu and eat all of them. You can juice cleanse later.
#3. We learned, start to finish, what it takes to make Tabasco sauce. From the tiny little seeds that get planted that then grow into pepper plants to the super spicy mash, which is basically just smashed peppers that are super hot and awesome all at the same time, to the bottling plant and then finally to your table!
#4. If you know me in real life, you know I have an obsession with sharks. So it’s no wonder I was completely infatuated with the alligators. Seriously, you guys, it was a huge highlight of my trip. And a BIG thank you to Took Osborn (senior VP of the company), who took a few of us on a late night aligator search in the middle of a giant lighting and thunder storm. Ummmm… amazing.
#5. Airboats and hanging with my friends! One of my favorite parts of this trip was finally getting to meet Jenna of Eat Live Run and Sarah of Fritos & Foie Gras and hanging with my fellow SoCal friend Lori of Recipe Girl and of course Hank of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook who I didn’t get any pics with!
And let’s just talk about airboats for a hot second. Omg you guys. They are so much fun. We spotted a gator during our airboat outing, clearly that’s awesome, but then we were spinning around in the marsh (which Jenna pointed out is where the snakes live… yikes!) and it was just so fun. I kinda want to have one in my backyard. But I guess there is no where to airboat in LA. Except maybe the ocean, but I can’t imagine that would end well 🙂
#6. Seafood boil!!!! Okay so I’ve come to the conclusion that whenever I go to Louisiana my stomach goes into this crazy time warp zone and it doesn’t process any feelings of being full. But hey, I’m not complaining. Just letting you know that it’s been known to happen. After our airboating extravaganza, we sat down to an awesome seafood boil and I basically ate my face off. And I loved every single second of it. Plus we got to sit with Tony, the president of the company, and he is super cool!
#7. Cocktail Party!!! Did you know that you can totes make cocktails with Tabasco. Yes, you totally can. And they are awesome. Here’s my strawberry cobbler 🙂
#8. Someone please tell me that they have had these chips?!? OMG. Life changing times 20. I need to order these suckers in bulk.
#9. Tabasco Tasting!! Yup, kinda like a wine tasting but spicier. We sat down and compared notes on each of the different Tabasco flavors and even got to sample a few up and coming top secret recipes. They were all awesome… but one definitely is my favorite…
#10. Chipotle Tabasco!!! Ummm can I get a hell yes!! This is the best sauce on earth in my opinion and I plan on putting it in basically everything I eat for the rest of my life. You guys need this in your life if you don’t already have it. Throw it on some scrambled eggs and it will change your life.
I had an amazing time visiting Avery Island and learning all about the best hot sauce on the face of the earth from the McIlhenny family. Each and every person we met was so kind hearted and lovely. I can see why it’s such a wonderful company to be a part of and I can’t even wait to start sharing some Tabasco inspired recipes with you guys!
Although my travel expenses were covered for this trip, all opinions are entirely my own and I am not required to write anything. A giant thank-you to McIlhenny Company and all their amazing family members for hosting us on Avery Island! And to the wonderful team at Hunter PR that made our trip extra special! Thank you thank you thank you!!
I am so excited you are making one of my recipes and I would love to see how it turns out. Make sure to share it on instagram and tag me @whatsgabycookin so I can see your masterpiece!