By carmen3521
1 years ago

Tabasco island: Is this the hottest place in the world?

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Avery Island -- not actually an island but a salt dome in southern Louisiana -- is the home of one of the most popular hot sauces in the world.
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A few drops of its famous Tabasco is enough to liven up any meal.
Surrounded by bayou, salt marsh and swamp, and about 2.5 miles across at its widest point, Avery Island has been the home of Tabasco sauce since the 1800s.
Every bottle of the fiery foodstuff, made from the tabasco chili pepper, is still made on the island, which is named after the family who've owned it for more than 200 years
Tabasco sauce was dreamed up by Edmund McIlhenny, an Avery clan member by marriage, who moved to the area after losing everything in the Civil War.
Birth of Tabasco
Avery-Island---tabasco-pepper----Getty-Images
Capsicum frutescens pepper seeds are the central ingredient in Tabasco sauce.
OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images
"My great, great grandfather was a banker, an entrepreneur and a monster chili head and he didn't like the way food tasted," says Anthony "Tony" Simmons, the president and CEO of the McIlhenny Company, which is now in its fifth generation as a family-run business.
"He created Tabasco to enliven the flavor of his own food."
While it's unclear exactly where he obtained the capsicum frutescens var. tabasco pepper seeds that became the main ingredient in Tabasco sauce, they are thought to have come from Mexico or Central America.
Rumor has it the seeds, which are the only type of chili pepper whose fruits are not dry on the inside, were handed to him by an unnamed man who simply said, "Try these. This is a very hot pepper."
Whatever the case, McIlhenny planted them in his garden and they bore a pepper plant with a strong spicy flavor he couldn't get enough of.
McIlhenny created what would become known as Tabasco sauce by grinding the peppers into a mash, mixing them with the natural rock salt from the island and aging the concoction for a month in jars.
The next stage was to add vinegar, before aging the mixture for another month. He'd then strain the mixture, pour it into used cologne bottles and distribute it to family and friends.
The businessman founded the McIlhenny Company in 1968 after his relatives convinced him to produce the sauce commercially.
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