Large red bottles of Tabasco on billboards started directing me to Avery Island, the home of the McIlhenny family who founded the sauce and still run the factory, long before I was near to it. This is the home of, and I am pretty sure I am right in saying this, the most famous hot pepper sauce in the world.

Travelling over train tracks and little rivers on Avery Island was very peaceful, passing the Jungle Gardens; huge trees with vines draped around them, which also provides a sanctuary for thousands of birds at certain times of year. I also discovered the Mcilhenny family own the salt mine on the island - one of the largest in America. I don’t think they’re short of cash.

Beverly (Bluerose) and me

Pulling up outside the factory it was hot. Really hot. I can see why all those little chillies like growing here. First stop was a free tour around the factory, with our asthmatic tour guide. I cant remember her name, but I do remember thinking it was a definite Faulty Towers moment as she explained that it was the chillies that caused her asthma, and so if she did have an attack as we pass through the factory to just keep going and ignore her….she would come round eventually. With that image in mind, and wary that the tour guide could keel over at any moment we started the tour. There were about 12 of us, which was just fine, and between us all I think we got the gist of what she was saying.  Moments where she lost her train of thought, or just where she was in general with the Tabasco story were soon remedied by one of us piping up, letting her know just where she had got to. A video demonstration later and I was much the wiser about Tabasco.  Enough of the learning and onto the gift shop and café.

As it happened there was a fellow Harley blogger; Beverley who was visiting with her husband on the same day. They rolled up in the most amazing machines and we happily got down to tasting the free samples in the Tabasco café.  I never knew they did things like Worcestershire sauce Tabasco, or soya sauce Tabasco, but they do! The chipolte Tabasco was particularly good, as was the sweet and spicy Tabasco.  I wasn’t completely sold on Tabasco ice cream, but hey, it wouldn’t have been the same without the experience.  The café next door also does food, so we tucked in to some nachos and sausage and beans.  It was great to be eating out in the open air with Beverley and her husband, generally talking about Harleys and the trips they had done.

Leaving Avery Island I travelled a little way inland, as Beverley had told me all the little towns along the coast had been devastated by the hurricane and were still pretty much flattened.  There wasn’t a whole load more to see on the route that I took either - the odd small bungalow houses, that seem to have grown from the original trailer, and lots and lots of flat land as far as the eye could see. A great ride that I really enjoyed, as the music was blaring and I was happily roaring along.

Approaching Lake Charles it seemed that this was more of an industrial town than I had thought. Lots of factories and industrial plants lining the lake on one side. But then you go up, up and up higher on a great bridge that gives you views across the whole city.  Stunning. I made my way to a fish shop, JT’s who stayed open late just for me, to get some flounder which I needed for the TV interview I was doing the next day. While I was in there the shrimps looked so good I had to get some for myself.  As I was staying that night in Studio 6, a variation of Motel 6, where they provide a kitchen, I thought I would cook myself a little supper, instead of eating out.  And boy, was I glad I did. The shrimp, which we would probably call giant tiger prawns were succulent and sweet and completely delicious. Cooked in a heavy sprinkling of the local Cajun spice mix, and then peeled once cooked, sucking all the juices off your hands as you go. I have found another dish to take home. 

Bridge over Bayou

Houseboat ... still occupied I think

Grain store .... dotted everywhere they are huge ... like most things in the US

1 comment:

  1. The botle of Tabasco (57ml)in Tunisia 10,800 TND = 7.50$