Those little red bottles of fiery goodness weren’t actually gifts from heaven, like you may have innocently assumed. With such a perfect blend of smokiness and spicy, it’s obvious TABASCO Sauce could only have been a creation deep within the Louisiana bayou — Avery Island, to be more specific.

Photo Credit: Louisiana Travel

As it turns out, the original 1868 recipe and the acute attention to detail haven’t changed much over the years. Still lovingly crafted from resources on the island that are tenderly picked by hand, a visit to Avery Island pays homage to the peppers that make up one of America’s most famous toppings. While the marshy wetland home to America’s favorite peppery sauce may be protected now, visitors to Avery Island can still spot alligators hanging out in the Jungle Gardens, 170 acres of semitropical foliage right on site, in between TABASCO tours.

Photo Credit: Louisiana Travel

Get a crash course in Louisiana cuisine with a food tour

Is there such as a thing as bad Cajun cuisine? On the TABASCO Food Tour you certainly won’t think so. This three and a half hour guided tour takes guests to six different restaurants in the area to explain the history and background behind various Louisiana staples like boudin balls. After you indulge, you’ll be invited to learn about the authentic recipes from the shop owners themselves.

Photo Credit: Louisiana Travel

See the peppers in all their glory

For true TABASCO fans, the opportunity to see the sauce preparation in all its glory may seem mind-blowing, as it is new for 2015. You can actually tour the greenhouses where the peppers are grown and harvested. The self-guided tour includes a walk-through of the company’s warehouses and processing plants to see all the steps involved with bottling and manufacturing an American staple. Before you go, don’t forget to stop by the TABASCO Country Store for souvenirs to add to your collection.

Photo Credit: USSCbiology

Did someone say free?

So, the tours aren’t free, but it’s okay to get excited over all the recipes and samples you’ll enjoy during the tour. After a day full of eating, touring the jungle gardens and smelling the sweet aromas wafting from the bottling plant, you’ll feel like you’ve discovered one of the best-kept secrets in Louisiana.