Tabasco Company - Avery Island, Louisiana
Avery Island has been on my bucket list for years. I had read about some of the history of how the Tabasco company got started in 1868 by Edmund McIlhenny and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tour the production facility and the beautiful Jungle Gardens on the property.
Getting to Avery Island is an easy drive that takes you through some beautiful country. We arrived at the front gate to the island and were told what signs to follow to start our self-guided tour. You can purchase your tour tickets online in advance for $12.50 per person. This covers the cost of the plant/ museum tour and the entrance fee for the Jungle Garden.
After arriving at the Admission Tickets window at the Tabasco Museum, the start of the self-guided tour, we were greeted by a super friendly lady that verified our online ticket purchase and gave us our visitors pass stickers. These stickers grant you entrance into both places - the Tabasco company and the Jungle Garden. If you’re a veteran, make sure you let them know, at the ticket office, and they will give you a sample bottle of original Tabasco sauce with the emblem of your branch of service on it.
The self-guided tour starts with the Tabasco Museum followed by the Greenhouse and Barrel Aging Cooperage. After seeing the rows and rows of aging Tabasco barrels, the tour continues with a visit to the Blending room, the Avery Island Experience, the Salt Mine Experience room, the Bottling Line and then the Food, Flavors, Tabasco Today room. Touring the plant was interesting and we learned more of the history of the company and how it is run today. To this day a member of the McIlhenny family oversees the quality control of the Tabasco sauces and many of the day-to-day operations.
After we finished our tour, it was time for lunch, so we walked over to the 1868 restaurant that is on site. The menu offered a variety of choices from appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and entrees. They even offered a Tabasco Bloody Mary! We ordered the buffalo cauliflower and fried pickles as an appetizer, a shrimp po-boy and a cup of shrimp etouffee. We were so surprised at the quantity of food served and the quality of flavors! If you like buffalo wings, try their buffalo cauliflower - this dish was tasty and spicy! The fried pickles were incredible! Anna Maria regretted not ordering the bowl of shrimp etouffee versus the cup, it was that good! And the shrimp po-boy - oh my goodness! That is a sandwich that I will remember for a while! After we finished eating, we visited the Tabasco Country Store where we purchased a few souvenirs and some Tabasco sauces before heading over to the Jungle Gardens (which we will cover in our next blog).