Where Tabasco Comes From

People all over the world are familiar with Tabasco in its traditional skinny red bottles, but who knew that Tabasco is available in gallon jars? Or that different colors signify new flavors of green pepper, garlic pepper, chipotle pepper, or (keep a fire extinguisher ready!) the super hot habanero pepper sauce.

All this sauce comes from obscure Avery Island, just south of Lafayette, Louisiana, and about three hours west of New Orleans. This original homestead of the McIlhenny family, who created the patented pepper sauce in the post-Civil War days, is really the dome of ancient salt deposits in the Mississippi delta region rather than a typical island. Some of that salt is mashed with local peppers and fermented in oak barrels for three years to make the well-known but secret brew.

A quirky factory tour is popular with tourists and ends with free miniature samples. The nearby Tabasco Country Store has the sauces and numerous Tabasco-based food products in every size and shape imaginable. And you might even get to taste some Tabasco ice cream.