VISIT: GUMBO COOK OFF

Friday 7:00 pm– 10:00 pm Saturday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm Sunday 9:30 am – 4:00 pm in New Iberia

Gumbo is a rich soup built around a base of a dark, rich roux supplemented with celery, onion, peppers, spices and meat or seafood. Here in Louisiana, we revere gumbo. For those that don’t know, roux is flour browned in butter or oil that is used as a thickening, coloring and flavoring agent in pot food like stews and gumbos.

To my mind, if I’m going to attend a Gumbo Festival, I want to taste multiple types of gumbos. I want to compare, experiment and indulge. Surprisingly, most of the five or so Gumbo Festivals in Louisiana merely offer huge quantities of the two traditional types of gumbo: seafood, and chicken & sausage. But fear not, at the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff in New Iberia, more than 60 teams gather to compete and create a wonderful array of this rich concoction.

A cute little town about half an hour south of Lafayette, New Iberia, LA was founded by Spaniards in the late 1700s. The festival takes place in Bouligny Plaza, a sun-drenched plaza on the banks of Bayou Teche within walking distance of downtown attractions and restaurants. Saturday is billed as a Cajun and Creole Food Festival presenting favorite local foods - jambalaya, boudin, etouffee and burgers. But you won’t find any gumbo. That treat is saved for the big Cookoff on Sunday.