Friday, May 27, 2016

Avery Island, Tabasco, Ducros Plantation

I know some of my family are confused--and then there are those who say, "It is Toni who is sooooo confused."  
Yes, I am now in Minnesota.
Yes, I am way behind in posting on my travels.
Yes, I am determined to document it all whenever I can get a breather or reasonable WiFi reception.


On leaving Breaux Bridge we headed straight to Avery Island where Tabasco Sauce is made.


"Roughly 150 years of tradition and three simple ingredients--aged red peppers, natural vinegar, and a dash of Avery Island-mined salt--produce the distinctive, spicy flavor that is TABASCO*Original Red Pepper Sauce."


"The process by which TABASCO* Sauce is made has remained virtually unchanged since Edmund McIlhenny created his first commercial batch in the late 1860s.  Still a family-owned business today, McIlhenny Company uses only one variety of red pepper, Capsicum Frutescens which is significantly hotter than the cayenne pepper commonly used in most other hot sauces.  The pepper is picked at the perfect shade of red, then immediately crushed, mixed with salt and aged in white oak barrels for up to three years.  The aged 'mash' is blended with vinegar for two to three weeks, and strained to remove the pepper skins and seeds.  The finished sauce is now ready to be labeled, bottled and shipped around the globe. The tabasco pepper and the unique aging process are what give Tabasco* sauce its distinct taste and ability to enhance the flavor of food"

 

The smell of peppers is definitely in the air.


The tour of the factory is interesting but the gardens are the highlight and well worth the trip. 






Yes, those are all birds--


 --snowy egrets to be exact.


From Avery Island we traveled to Shreiver and visited a friend of the family who owns his own plantation.  Dickie Bourgeois  is renovating the plantation with plans for it to be a great spot for weddings and parties.  Meanwhile, he invited us to spend the night.


This was what it looked like when he bought it some years ago....

  

....and this is what it looks like today.

 

And meet Dickie.  He is up on my roof sawing away the branch of the oak tree that I so ceremoniously hit when I drove onto his property.


There was little damage done to the top of Spirit but quite a lot done to my pride.  
But most of all, "Thank you, Dickie, for rescuing me."


It was a lovely night spent on the grounds of this majestic old home.


We had company...


And relaxation


A lesson in Louisiana history....

"The Winders owned Ducros Plantation from 1845 to 1872.
Van Perkins Winder died of yellow fever in 1854 leaving Martha Winder eight months pregnant with their fifteenth child.  She continued to run the plantation until she sold it in 1872."


Martha Ann Grundy Winder


Van Perkins Winder



And a tour of the home.  
This was the kitchen because kitchens tended to catch on fire in the 1800's so they were exiled to outside buildings to safeguard the house.


These verandas are on  both floors and also in front and in back.  Wow!  Think of the rocking chairs!


Some things were not part of the original.


and some things are.



 Just look at those floors!

"Thank you again, Dickie.  This was a lovely visit."


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cafe Des Amis

The crowds start lining up at 7 AM on any Saturday.  It is breakfast time at Cafe Des Amis.


The seating starts at 7:30 with a $5 cover charge....


and the band arrives at 8 AM to set up in the window of what was once a general store.  


Zydeco is not complete without the washboard.


All ages, sizes and persons able to do justice to the two-step are present.


Fully 1/2 the crowd does not have a place to sit but they weren't there to sit anyway.


The locals know to put on their finest.


And the whole building reverberates with the music that doesn't stop--or even slow down--until noon. It sure beats breakfast at IHOP.


Breaux Bridge is the very heart of cajun country,  the locals are wonderfully welcoming, and Cajun French can be heard throughout.



No trip to Louisiana is complete without the 'Swamp Tour'.


We chose Lake Martin right outside Breaux Bridge and it was a perfect day for a boat ride...



The gator's were out  ...along with birds, turtles and crocs. 










We spied a bald eagle  








After all that sun I thought surely I would be roasted but the sunscreen saved me.  The dermatologist back in Tucson suggested Walgreen's brand of baby sunscreen--it was the cheapest and it works just as well.  He was right.

No sunburn.