Eunice, Louisiana. The day was cold and grey which wasn’t great weather for a festival, but turned out to be perfect etouffee weather. For those who have never had it (or heard of it), etouffee is a type of stew or maybe a serious gravy served over rice in Louisiana. It is one of those dishes which can vary greatly from one pot to the next, depending on the whims and style of the cook. It was great to be able to try so many different varieties of etouffee at the cook-off. Over 40 teams competed in this year’s world championship, coming from near and far to test their recipe against the very best. In addition to etouffee, there were, of course, boiled crawfish, and a variety of delicious sweets to choose from too. Live Cajun music came from the stage and people danced and drank and ate their fill. The locals from Eunice were all very welcoming to those of us from out of town which added to the community feel of the event. In my opinion, it was the local fire brigade which served up the best bowl of etouffee, but to be fair I could only eat about six different samples before throwing in the towel. Although it was a chilly, windy day in Cajun Country, I left feeling warm and satisfied - both in my belly and in my soul. I hope you enjoy these photos from the World Championship Crawfish Etouffee Cook-Off in Eunice, Louisiana.
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This past weekend I really enjoyed attending the Battle of the Gumbo Gladiators cook-off while I was in Shreveport. The festival, which was held downtown at Festival Plaza, featured over 40 teams vying for the title of Ultimate Gumbo Gladiator. Each team had to prepare at least 8 gallons of gumbo on-site and they were required to make their roux from scratch. There were four categories to compete in: Seafood, Chicken and Sausage, Lagniappe (any gumbo not falling into the other two categories), and the People’s Choice gumbo which received the most votes from the attendees. This event was really fun and well organized and I certainly got my fill of great gumbo while I was there. I was sorry I only got to try about 20% of the different gumbos, but there is only so much you can eat. This event went to benefit the Volunteers for Youth Justice which helps young people in crisis. It’s always a real pleasure to attend these local events as I travel, and this was a particularly good one. Thank you, Shreveport, for your hospitality and for some amazing gumbo. I hope you enjoy these photos of the Gumbo Gladiators…