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Discover Culinary Delights Along the Louisiana Coast

Louisiana Coast, June 2015 – Food-inspired travel is a growing trend that has vacationers flocking to culinary destinations seeking interesting, novel and of course, delicious, cuisine. Many culinary travelers roam far and wide to sample authentic local dishes that highlight the culture, heritage and agriculture of the region—essentially getting a history and geography lesson in one tasty bite. With an abundance of freshly caught seafood pulled in daily, authentic Cajun delicacies and festivals to suit every palate, the Louisiana Coast is an ideal destination for a true “foodie” getaway.

From amberjack to yellowfin, and almost everything in between, freshly caught seafood is synonymous with eating along the Louisiana coast. Dishes featuring local seafood are easy to find at restaurants throughout the coast, but visitors who want to try their hand at preparing the very freshest fish and shellfish themselves will love the Delcambre Direct Seafood Program in Iberia and Vermilion parishes. Through this innovative program, fishermen sell their day’s catch directly from the boat to consumers from the Bayou Carlin Cove Boat Landing & Pavilion at the Port of Delcambre. The program’s website and Facebook page let potential buyers know which boats are docked at any time and what they’re selling. Buyers are encouraged to call the boats directly to learn more about pricing and quantities on their favorite seafood. On the first Saturday of each month, a farmers market located at the pier allows visitors to stock up on local produce as well as fresh off the boat seafood…a chef’s dream come true.

Vermilion Parish has been designated the “Most Cajun Place on Earth,” with nearly 50 percent of its citizens claiming Cajun ancestry. It’s also possibly the best place on earth to try authentic Cajun cuisine. With French roots—the word “Cajun” is derived from a mispronunciation of the French-speaking “Acadians” deported from Canada to Louisiana’s bayou—this cuisine focuses heavily on locally available ingredients and simple cooking techniques. In Vermillion Parish, more than 20 locally owned Cajun restaurants feature classic dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish and oyster po’boys. Several culinary trails located throughout the parish lead hungry visitors to some of the most-loved spots for Cajun specialties, including Dupuy’s Oyster Shop, dating back to 1896, and Suire’s Grocery and Restaurant for turtle sauce piquante and alligator po’boys.

Boudin (pronounced “boo-dan”), another staple of Cajun cooking, is a smoked sausage made from pork, liver, rice, onions, garlic and other spices. Bought by the pound and served boiled, grilled or steamed, boudin is one of coastal Louisiana’s favorite foods. Those looking to get an authentic taste of this iconic dish should head to Cameron and Calcasieu parishes, where the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail features more than 25 restaurants and markets serving up this tasty treat. In addition to the traditional pork variety, boudin can be found made from crawfish, shrimp or alligator meat. The always-popular boudin balls are made by rolling the filling into a ball (rather then stuffing it into pork casing), then dipping it in batter and deep-frying.

Several food festivals throughout the year pay homage to the local crops and culinary traditions across the Louisiana Coast. In August, the Delcambre Shrimp Festival, located in Iberia and Vermilion parishes, celebrates its place as center of the shrimping industry. Shrimp is, of course, the featured cuisine of the weekend, with menu items like boiled and fried shrimp and shrimp sauce piquante being served. The World Championship Gumbo Festival happens every October in Iberia Parish, where 100 teams vie for bragging rights to the best gumbo in the world. Guests are invited to sample dozens of iterations of this dish, from traditional chicken and seafood gumbo to more daring varieties like alligator, rabbit and quail. December brings the Plaquemines Parish Fair and Orange Festival a celebration of the parish’s bountiful citrus crops.

Visitors can sample local navel oranges and satsumas, a small, seedless citrus fruit that’s very easy to peel. Collectively known as the Louisiana Tourism Coastal Coalition (LTCC), the coastal parishes of Louisiana promote natural, recreational and cultural experiences to residents of and visitors to these parishes. The LTCC is also an advocate for the sustainable development of coastal communities and protection of the area’s fragile wetlands.

Lauren Frye
lauren@gilliesandzaiser.com
212-724-7783 x3
Gillies and Zaiser
LTCC-3-July 2015

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