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.
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.
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.
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.