While most visitors to Louisiana are familiar with famous dishes like gumbo and jambalaya, our state offers a myriad of tasty native treats. Boudin is a Cajun sausage originating in Acadiana, the area west of the Atchafalaya Basin. However this delicious mixture of pork, rice and seasonings has slowly made its way east and has been happily devoured by New Orleanians. The growing popularity of boudin in New Orleans can be seen in one of our newer events: Boudin and Beer.
Launched by Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batalli as a fundraiser for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, the evening features over 50 chefs from around the country who have been invited to show off their sausage-making prowess. Boudin blanc (white boudin), named for the color of the finished product, is the most common version, though one can also sample boudin noir, a darker boudin which incorporates small amounts of blood. Both of these sausages are products of a time when a family would butcher a hog as winter would set in and make sure to use every part of the pig. Today, though, there is a wide variety of boudin available, including crawfish, shrimp and alligator. Boudin can be mild or spicy, depending on one’s individual tastes, and is typically simmered or steamed, before being served. My favorite way to enjoy boudin is in gas stations and specialty meat markets in towns along Louisiana backroads, where it is usually taken straight from a steamer, wrapped in butcher paper and handed over to the hungry customer.
But though Boudin and Beer offers its samples in a more upscale setting, the culinary experience should be just as satisfying, especially complimented by flagship and seasonal brews from Abita Beer. The event takes place November 2 at The Foundry and, in addition to enjoying the delicacies of dozens of top chefs, guests can dance the night away to the Cajun sounds of Drake White, Feufollet and the Red Stick Ramblers. A full night of Louisiana, indeed. Tickets can be purchased online.