In Acadiana, cochon de lait is the ultimate celebration food. The time and effort that go into preparing and roasting a whole pig require the appreciation of a large gathering – and a special occasion. In Mansura, Louisiana, the annual Cochon de Lait Festival is the one celebration of the food that marks so many other celebrations around these parts.
Held each year on the second weekend in May (Mother’s Day weekend), the Cochon de Lait Festival first took place in 1960. It was an immediate hit and grew more popular each year until in 1972, about 100,000 people arrived in Mansura for the festival – so many visitors that the town, with a population of less than 2,000, was overwhelmed. For 15 years the people of Mansura took a break from the Cochon de Lait Fest. But in 1987 it triumphantly returned.
The throngs descend on little Mansura in central Louisiana on this weekend in May for Cajun food, live music, rides, games, contests, street dances, parades, arts & crafts – and more cochon de lait than you can shake a stick at. The festival is the perfect place to witness the time-honored ritual of cochon de lait preparation. The pig is dressed and placed in a wire rotisserie cage – the same design that has been used for generations. A roasting shanty is constructed and filled with piles of pecan and hickory wood. Dangling in the heat and smoke above the smoldering wood, rows and rows of cochon de lait roast to perfection in their wire racks. It’s a sight to behold, but even more beguiling are the smoky aroma and the delicious taste. Add some additional flavor with a splash or two of your favorite TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauce flavor.
For more information, visit www.cochondelaitfestival.com.