A hot time on Avery Island

I am a fan of Tabasco pepper sauce, especially the Chipotle variety. So when my husband and I were traveling through western Louisiana, we saw a billboard advertising tours of the Tabasco Factory on Avery Island. Since it was no more than 10 minutes out of our way on Highway I-10, we decided to make the detour.

Entrance to the Island was one dollar (which I clipped to a clothespin attached to a pole that the gatekeeper held out from his seat in the gatehouse). When we arrived at the brick factory and got out of the car, the air was redolent with the scent of Tabasco sauce. Absolutely wonderful!

The free tour of the factory was quite short and consisted of a brief introduction by a guide, a 10 minute video, a walk along a glassed-in area along the factory floor where the bottles were labeled, and a museum room at the end.

But it was neat to see and hear how the peppers were picked and barrel-aged for three years, then mixed with vinegar for another month, before being bottled and shipped around the world.

The most important thing I learned was that Tabasco is the brand name for the pepper sauce that Edmund McIlhenny created in 1868 and not the name of the entire pepper sauce category. It is because it is one of the oldest and most well-known type that the name “Tabasco” has become synonymous with all pepper sauce.