Louisiana is the home of TABASCO®, founded in 1868 by Edmund McIlhenny (pronounced mackel henny) and still owned and operated by his descendants. It’s located on Avery Island, an ancient and vast sea salt deposit that has been pushed up 160 feet to form an island-like landform surrounded by bayous. TABASCO® has brought much culinary happiness to our family, so we felt a pilgrimage was in order.
The original TABASCO® sauce consists of just three ingredients: Vinegar, red pepper, and salt. Only one variety of red pepper is used (Capsicum frutescens variety Tabasco) and is grown on small parcels of land (less than 5 acres) by local farmers in Central America, South America, and Africa. The peppers are ground into mash and shipped to Avery Island where it ages for three years in barrels sealed with salt.
One of the descendants was very much into conservation and established a wildlife refuge on the island. A rookery of nesting Great Egrets and an ancient Buddha encased in protective housing are highlights of the park.