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Fun food museums in Mississippi River Country

These unique museums share the history and craft behind some of your favorite things in the kitchen, from Tabasco sauce to Wisconsin cheese.

Tabasco Museum
Credit: Louisiana Office of Tourism

Who’s hungry? Mississippi River Country is not only home to wonderful regional cuisines and specialties, it’s also the place where some of your favorite foods are produced. Here’s a look at three food museums that are worth a visit.

TABASCO® Brand Factory Tour & Museum

Everyone’s favorite condiment—well maybe in Louisiana, at least—is produced in Avery Island in the south-central part of the state, about a 40-minute drive from Lafayette. Learn about the history of the TABASCO® brand and see how this kitchen favorite is made. Tours, which run every day from 9am to 4pm, cost $5.50 and include a trip through the TABASCO® Museum, the pepper greenhouse, the barrel warehouse and the blending and bottling facility. After the tour, head to the TABASCO® Country Store to pick up souvenirs or grab a bite at Restaurant 1868!, where you can build your own bloody mary.

SPAM® Museum

Did you know that Minnesota’s home to a museum celebrating America’s favorite canned meat? The SPAM® Museum in Austin—the home base of Hormel Foods, who counts SPAM® among their brands—chronicles the history of this uniquely American foodstuff throughout the years, from its place in World War II to the global reach it has today. Be sure to take advantage of the samples offered during the tour, which include hard-to-find flavors like teriyaki, black pepper, and hickory smoke. You can even take home some fun SPAM®-themed gifts.

Historic Cheesemaking Center

Wisconsin is known as the Dairy State, so it only makes sense that the state would be home to a cheese museum. Fittingly located in Monroe–“the Cheese Capital of the U.S.A.”—in southern Wisconsin, the Historic Cheesemaking Center is open in late summer, spring and fall for tours of the National Historic Cheesemaking Museum and the Imobersteg Farmstead Cheese Factory, a restored and relocated century-old cheese factory that uses historic cheesemaking methods.

Other food museums to check out: