The Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans was having a Cochon Sauvage event, which is a celebration and tasting of wild boar, so of course, my husband and I headed over for the fun. Why not?
I’ve actually been wanting to tour the museum for a while, and was glad we finally found a chance to see it. We took the street car down Canal Street, and walked a few blocks to the museum, which wasn’t easy since there wasn’t a sidewalk for part of the way along the busy street. Next time, we’ll either drive or take a cab. The museum is an open warehouse of artifacts of every food related item you can imagine.
As soon as you entered, you saw the sugar display.
Sugarcane is a huge crop in Louisiana and then, of course, there’s the Sugar Bowl that’s played in the Superdome every year. Sweet!
Then on to the main event. In the back of the museum, there was a monster of a double grill that had the most delicious smell wafting from within. “Would you like to see what’s inside?” asked one of the chefs.
“Well as a matter of fact, I would!”
I asked another chef a few questions (although it looks like he doesn’t understand a word I’m saying! The disparity in accents between Alabama and Louisiana can be great). He explained that the wild boar is a threat to Louisiana farms (and actually throughout the entire Southeast). The Louisiana Department of Agriculture is educating the public on the benefits of turning wild boar into a delicacy. It helps the farmer, and the meat is completely organic with no preservatives.
The tasting kitchen is set up for cooking demonstrations and provided a great place to sit and taste the very delicious, very low fat piggy. The boars must be caught in a trap, inspected by the Department of Agriculture Agent, and cannot cross state lines. It was truly fabulous, and if I were able to find it in the stores, I would definitely buy it. Or . . . I could set my own trap and . . . you know.
This little guy had too much of a good thing.
Also on display was The Photography of Modernist Cuisine. Photographs (like the one in the background) of food cooking in different elements were intriguing and made possible by someone taking a big saw to grills, stoves, pressure cookers and blenders. My sons, who love photography, don’t need to see this or else my Crock Pot’s going to be history.
Signs from famous restaurants were displayed around the room.
Of course, since the museum is located in New Orleans, there’s also a section devoted to the history of the cocktail.
Do you know what kind of spoons these are? (Rachel my spoon expert? Want to take a guess?)
I’ll let you read about them yourself. Absinthe fountains were also on display, and later that evening when we dined at The Bombay Club, I saw one being used and asked the waiter if that’s what it was. He was impressed with my sophisticated knowledge, and I didn’t want to tell him I had just learned about it in the museum that afternoon!
If a touch of absinthe is too strong for you, there’s always the hot sauce display! One night during our stay in New Orleans, we dined at the Gumbo Shop and were seated (closely) next to a family visiting from Australia. They politely asked us if all Americans used hot sauce, since everyone in the restaurant seemed to be pouring the stuff all over their food. “Not everyone.” we told them. “Just mainly along the Gulf Coast, and come to think of it, most of the South.”
It’s true you can find some kind of hot pepper sauce on the table at most restaurants, and at home, I have a little silver holder for mine to make it appear elegant. I’ll have to take a few bottles with me if I ever visit Australia.
I looked around and couldn’t find my husband, but eventually spotted him gathered with all the other menfolk admiring the Big Green Egg display. They had several models on view, with one of the largest I’ve ever seen. Big enough for a mean old wild boar!
Later, I’ll tell you about the fabulous restaurant attached to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. You’re going to love it! For now, I’m going to go set a Cochon Sauvage trap in my backyard.
HERE‘s a story on the full Absinthe display with more photos.
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What a fun museum! The sugar cube models brought back memories of junior high French class when I tried to build a chateau out of sugar cubes for an extra credit project. It did not turn out quite as well (or as symmetrical) as those at the museum.
A sugar cube chateau beats a mud spewing volcano any day! The children were creating part of the sugar town, but I’m suspecting a professional had something to do with the Superdome!
From our discussions I know you’ve been to Italy like we have and this reminded me of the cinghiale we had over there. It wasn’t gamey at all and we loved it. Great to know this is so much closer than Italy! Hahaha.
Those varmints are everywhere!
I haven’t heard of this museum Leslie Anne, thank you for the visit! I bet it was oodles of fun and lots of quirky things to see…I don’t like absinthe or hot sauce, I just might get kicked out of the South 🙂
I understand. You’re more of a grits girl! I think you’d love the museum anyway!
Those lovely spoons reminded me of all the Frances Parkinson Keyes novels set in New Orleans.
I love to tour the museum and my husband would have been parked at the Big Green Egg too. He really covets the one my brother-in-law has. I’ve eaten many different kinds of wild game but never tasted boar.
Oh my, who is the plump diapered model supposed to be?
Meant to write that I WOULD love to tour the museum, I haven’t been there!
Ha! I knew what you meant. I’ guessing the big baby must be from an old Mardi Gras float. He was just standing there, celebrating after we ate. Go figure.
Men and their Big Green Eggs. We actually had ribs tonight from ours.De-licious!
Well that was a lot of fun!
Everything in New Orleans is fun!
We have some of those creatures wandering around our place up in North Baldwin….wanna come up this way and set your trap?
Looks like an interesting place. I had never heard of it, so thanks for showing us around.
Umm . . . if you trap it and bring it to me wrapped in Saran, I’ll throw it on the grill, how about that?
More things that are entirely new to me than I have encountered in a long time. I do love he spoons . Will be on the look out for one. Thanks for all the information.
The spoons hold the sugar while water runs through it from a special little fountain. When I saw the bartender do it, it made sense. I was too chicken to order one, since I read some book years ago that told how strong the drink was — like a serious drug back in the day. It’s much tamer now, but I stuck to the vino. Not the party girl I used to be!
I’ll add this museum to my list of places to visit on my next trip to NO. I would enjoy the history of southern food. I have to say I would have to pass on the wild boar, anything wild for that matter, but interesting how TLDA is promoting this. Love the sugar display and I missed on the spoons but wow I would love to have a few of those in my collection. I can’t even imagine someone would melt down those beautiful pieces!
Honestly, it didn’t taste “gamey” like venison at all. Very clean and pure pork taste. The grilling was so perfectly executed that the meat just fell apart with tender yumminess.
The pigs can destroy a farm and even root up seeds, so that’s why the Dept. of Ag. is going after them.
I wondered about ants creeping in to the sugar display, but somehow, it was all clean as a whistle. If my boys had been there playing with the sugar, one of them would have had his mouth packed full of cubes. The little boy I saw there playing was content and sat there forever, stacking up the little cubes while his parents looked around. Such a . . . sweetie!
That is a scary looking pig! Cooked, though, is another matter. I am going to bookmark this post in my travel folder because we will be stopping in New Orleans pretty soon. The museum looks like a place to get lost for a while.
It’s a great museum to visit, and something a little different to do than the usual old things in N.O. Make sure you sign up for their emails so you’ll know about other special events.
Sterling silver spoons!?
They’re just beautiful and I’d love to have one, even if I never indulge in absinthe…I’ll have the sugar cubes, thank you!
This past weekend I rescued several antique sterling pieces of flatware at Scott’s Antiques Market that were going to be melted down into “silver bars.” It seems a crime to destroy our decorative heritage that way.
This looks like a museum I could spend a day visiting. Love it!
(For those that don’t remember, Rachel is my dearest friend who lives in Marietta, GA in The Trammell House which I’ve written about before (do a search in the sidebar and you’ll find photos). She’s the ultimate hostess who knows every single type of flatware and can name every sterling pattern ever made! If she could have set her knowledge to music, she would have won the talent portion of Miss Georgia years ago!)
You are a true humanitarian in the plight of wayward silver. We all commend your efforts and want to be included at your next fundraiser to for STS (Save the Silver).
But seriously, who could possibly have the heart to melt down such beautiful things? People are just so greedy now and don’t care about beauty and niceness anymore!