By Veronica Del Bianco
Louisiana wants the entire world to know that its seafood is just as fresh, tasty and plentiful as ever. So they invited some of America’s most influential food writers to come straight to the source. The Food Blog Masters retreat is giving the guest list unprecedented access to virtually every aspect of the industry, from fishermen to processors to chefs.
After a crabbing demonstration, the food writers pulled up to dock at Pontchartrain Blue Crabs, which prides itself on being a reliable supplier of superior seafood at fair prices. The processing plant employs a minimum of 90 people seasonally, and the skill of the pickers and packers clearly impressed the guests.
As the day unfolded, the food writers jumped on Twitter or their blogs to post photos and comments about their up-close experience with fresh Louisiana seafood.
“Ever buy a container of already picked [crab] meat?” tweeted Adam Roberts of Amateur Gourmet. “There are the people who make that happen.”
“My favorite part is right now,” tweeted Emma Christensen of the thekitchn.com, while eating a sampling of crab and shrimp put out by Pontchartrain Blue Crab owner Gary Bauer.
Having whet their appetites, the Food Blog Masters were treated to an authentic crawfish boil and family-style jambalaya courtesy of local celebrities Lionel “Da Pope” Alphonso and “Jambalaya Girl” Kristen Preau.
“The crawfish was spicy, earthy, and had a hint of citrus. Me gusta,” tweeted Food Woolf, Brooke Burton.
“We’ve been eating tons of outstanding seafood … And oysters on the half shell as fresh as you can get ‘em,” blogged Amanda Bottoms of Kevin & Amanda.
The final stop on Monday’s tour was along a quiet bayou where oysterman Sam Slavich pulled up to dock after a day of harvesting.
Tuesday brought bloggers close to another species — Gulf shrimp. Food bloggers learned to sort shrimp at Gulf Island Shrimp and Seafood, then saw the IQF (individually quick frozen) machine prep fresh shrimp for distribution.
“Louisiana is a big pot of gumbo,” wrote Marla Meridith of Family Fresh Cooking at the day’s end. “Full of rich cultures, flavors & traditions.”
“It’s been amazing @LASeafoodBoard,” tweeted Amy Sherman of Cooking With Amy. “Meeting your chefs and fishermen is a real honor.”