Monday, November 17, 2008

My Town Monday: Another City, Not My Own

Ok, I stole that title from Dominick Dunne but it seems appropriate. I mean, I've yet to highlight my hometown in upstate NY, but I hope to do that soon.

Meanwhile, I spent a relaxing weekend writing in the town that James Lee Burke calls home in New Iberia, Louisiana (well, at least part of the time), and it was here that I managed to make some headway with two short stories and the new e-zine, Beat to a Pulp.

For an afternoon distraction, my wife mentioned going to Avery Island where Tabasco is made.

It was a nice tour. A guide gave a brief speech, showed us to a room where we watched a ten minute video, then we walked past the manufacturing lines and into a small exhibit space. We learned a lot about how peppers become the infamous hot sauce.

50 acres of Avery Island are dedicated to growing peppers. The best are selected for their seeds, which are shipped to Central and South America where the majority of the peppers for the sauce are grown.

The peppers are picked and immediately processed with salt mined from Avery Island.

The salted peppers are shipped back to Avery Island to be mashed and stored in oak barrels for three years. (These barrels come from the Jack Daniels company who use the barrels for only one year in making their whiskey. The Tabasco company uses the barrels for 21-23 years, at which point, they're broken up and sold as BBQ wood chips, flavored with whiskey and Tabasco!)

Once the pepper mash is done, it's mixed with distilled vinegar and stirred for 23 days. Only then is it ready for bottling.

The process is actually more detailed than that. If you're interested, the Tabasco website has a great video.


The iconic diamond label showing how to get there.


The main building where tours begin.


Unfortunately the manufacturing lines weren't running on Saturday.


The country store and gift shop.


Browsing the goods. Got some spicy dark chocolate and hot cinnamon mints.


Little d braves the 'wind chill.'


WT?!


For other My Town Mondays, drop by Travis Erwin's site...

24 comments:

lyzzydee said...

The barrells story is great , the original recycler!!!
What is going on with that fish??

Josh said...

everthing is better with a little hot sauce. But spicy chocolate? I've never heard of that, but it sounds tasty.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Our secretary pours tabasca on everything except oatmeal. Is it used that indiscriminately in LA?

David Cranmer said...

Lyzzdee, The fish is the $64,000 question. I’m not sure what it's all about except maybe that you can go fishing with hot peppers?

Josh, My wife found the chocolate a little too spicy for her tastes but I enjoyed it.

Patti, Ha. I think they even pour it on the oatmeal here and definitely grits! So yes they are indiscriminate about it.

Charles Gramlich said...

You had me at Tabasco!

David Cranmer said...

Charles, Ha! Spoken like a true Louisianan.

Travis Erwin said...

I'm fairly certain my wife has Tabasco running through her veins.

Chris said...

I almost wrote that I've never been to Louisiana, but I have been to New Orleans. Still, I like local flavor when I travel, and your post got me interested in returning to the South. Enjoyed reading this.

Jenny Jill said...

Love the fish. You made me think of a MTM subject: what is my town famous for? I'm onto it!

The tabasco warmed me up some. We are a bit cold in Central Ontario. With subzero temps (-5 Celsius) we have inner warmth! A couple of inches of snow, too. With 30,000 without power just to our north and south - we are just fine! I just posted a blog on renewable power.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

What a fabulous fish.

Terrie

David Cranmer said...

Travis, I didn't grow up with spicy food but now I appreciate it. My wife is moving in the other direction.

Chris, Amazingly, I still haven't gotten to N.O. yet! Hey, I see your listening to Weather Report. I'll bet it's pretty good.

Jenny, thanks for stopping by and I will click over and check out your blog. I'm from NY so I'm accustomed to the weather your talking about.

Terrie, It is... but what does it mean?!

Barbara Martin said...

Tobasco sauce is great to put on just about everything. I like it in the summer to help dispell the humidity in the air. Keeps me feeling cooler.

That fish is surely something, David.

Chris said...

I have been listening to Weather Report. Mysterious Traveller. It is really good.

By the way, I stole your "Listening/Watching" idea for my own blog. Hope you don't mind!

David Cranmer said...

Barbara, I have to start being more adventurous with the hot sauce. I've been limited for too long.

Chris, I borrowed the idea from someone else, so it's good that we're keeping the idea going.

Mary said...

What a fish! Sounds like you and your wife had a great time. Thanks for sharing. I love these MTM posts!

Rachel Burton said...

I would have been all about the Tabasco tour; I love that stuff! And that fish art thing made me chuckle!

David Cranmer said...

I agree, Travis came up with a great idea. Thanks Mary.

Rachel, It was a a lot of fun. We love these smaller tours because you don't feel rushed and have time to look around.

Junosmom said...

My husband would love to go there. I'd probably have to hide my debit card at the gift shop.

debra said...

What a great way to use the barrels! No waste there. Thanks for in interesting post, David.

David Cranmer said...

Junosmom, I resisted the temptation as best I could. They had all kinds of shirts, hats, cooking supplies, etc. My wife loves chocolate so that was a must.

Debra, my wife was also amazed by how the barrels are used. From whiskey to peppers and finally kindling... that's creative recycling!

Cloudia said...

Very cool little tour of a place I'd like to visit. Well done! Hope to see you around the web-
Aloha from Hawaii!
loved the barrel facts ;-)

David Cranmer said...

Cloudia, I'm sure you would enjoy the tour and those barrel facts did stun a few people. Btw I sure would enjoy some of that sun you have in Hawaii right about now. Paradise all year long must be nice.

Barrie said...

I love trips like this. I've never thought much about Tabasco sauce. But, next time I use it, I'll think of this post!

David Cranmer said...

Barrie, I never thought much about it either. This was definitely a worthwhile trip.