Dive into Louisiana’s unique culinary cultures with condiments and cooking styles you won’t find anywhere else.
It’s no secret that Louisiana’s food is world-renowned, but how much do you know about the flavors and ingredients that make it so special? Many iconic sauces, spice blends and cooking styles were created in the cultural melting pot of the Pelican State, where cooks from diverse heritages draw inspiration from each other. Explore some of Louisiana’s most distinctive flavors and learn about the spices and seasonings that make the state’s food stand out.
Cajun and Creole Flavors
First, a primer: Louisiana is famous for both the Creole and Cajun styles of cooking. While these two cuisines are often referred to interchangeably, they have very different flavor profiles and stem from distinct cultural roots. Creole cuisine emerged in New Orleans in the 18th century. Drawing inspiration from the French, Spanish and African food traditions of the people who lived in the area, this style of cooking often involved intricate recipes and long ingredient lists. Cajun food was developed by the Acadian people who settled in Louisiana’s more rural regions. It’s marked by heavy use of flavorful spices like cayenne pepper and garlic, as well as preserved meats and sausages like andouille and boudin. Today, you’ll find both Cajun and Creole cuisine across Louisiana, and many of the state’s most beloved recipes combine flavors of both.
A bowl of Cajun-style gumbo at Seafood Palace in Lake Charles
TABASCO Pepper Sauce
TABASCO is one of the most recognizable hot sauces on the market today. Take a behind-the-scenes look at how this peppery blend became world-famous at the TABASCO Brand Factory Tour & Museum on Avery Island, near New Iberia. Begin in the TABASCO Museum, where you’ll get a rundown of the factory’s history and view some historic memorabilia. From there, set off to explore more tour stops like the Greenhouse and Barreling Area, Blending Room, and the Bottling Line, where you can watch TABASCO being made. Along the way, don’t miss the Avery Island Experience, which details the geographical features of this Louisiana region that make those unique TABASCO flavors possible. Cap off your day with a taste of TOBASCO at 1868 Restaurant and at cooking classes and demonstrations held on-site with local chefs.
Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
In 1905 in the bayou town of Opelousas, Chef Tony Chachere developed a blend of spices and seasonings so good that the locals started referring to him as the “Ole Master” of Creole cooking. Today, you can taste his legacy at Mr. Tony’s Country Store, a gift shop and visitor center with a delicious twist. Get to know the man himself by watching films about Mr. Tony and his culinary career, then take a peek into how his world-famous spices are made today on self-guided production tours. Shop retail offerings, from Tony’s famous spice blends and cooking gear to local goods from other Louisiana businesses.
Seasonings and merchandise on display at Mr. Tony’s Country Store in Opelousas
Find More Flavor
The culinary treasures don’t end there: Throughout the state, trails and festivals dedicated to distinct Louisiana specialties give visitors opportunities to taste these iconic flavors in action and connect with local traditions. Head to the River Parishes, the region just west of New Orleans, to traverse the Andouille Trail and sample this unique pork sausage at local businesses and restaurants. The town of LaPlace plays host to the Andouille Festival each fall. Over in Houma, the Bayou Country Crawfish Trail encompasses nearly 30 stops that serve crawfish fried in po-boys, stewed in gumbo, boiled with corn and potatoes, and just about any way you can imagine. Seasonal celebrations are popular, too: Visit events like the Creole Tomato Festival in New Orleans and the Blackpot Festival & Cookoff in Lafayette to enjoy local flavors along with live music, local food vendors and community cooking contests.
Events like the Blackpot Festival & Cookoff in Lafayette bring Louisiana communities together for food and fun
Fly into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) and rent a car to go wherever your taste buds take you.