Acadiana cooks will add boudin to reinvent just about any dish in the same way the rest of the country uses bacon to add interest to old favorites.
Now, both beloved piggy snacks will be joined together at last during the inaugural Acadiana Bacon Fest happening at the 12th-annual Boudin Cook-Off.
"The response has been really, really phenomenal," said Bob Carriker, the man behind both events. "Why would that be a surprise, though, when we're talking about boudin and bacon?"
Carriker has wanted to host a bacon festival for a few years now, but he felt overwhelmed by the idea of planning and coordinating another festival. He knows well how much work it is to put on just one annual event.
"I literally was in Mass when it hit me — and I probably should have been thinking about more spiritual things," Carriker said with a laugh. "But all of a sudden, I think, you've got the bigger park, why not combine them?"
The bigger park he was referring to is Parc International in downtown Lafayette. The Boudin Cook-Off has happened at the smaller, nearby Parc Sans Souci since 2007.
Aside from the venue change, the festival's format won't differ terribly from the Boudin Cook-Off.
Entry into the event will still be free and include live music, games with prizes, face painting, children's activities, ice cream sandwiches and eating contests. People can vote for their favorite boudin and bacon creations through purchasing sample tickets. Drinks and other food items will also be for sale.
Boudin and bacon vendors at the two-for-one festival won't be separated. And vendors will be free to serve both boudin and bacon creations if they'd like.
Paul Ayo, who owns Avec Bacon Cafe, said he's not surprised it took so long for a bacon-centric event to happen in Acadiana.
"We're known for a lot of things here, but bacon isn't really traditional Cajun," Ayo said. "There's a lot of places that specialize in boudin and sausage, and you'll find those in many, many stores around here. It's just more of the Cajun culture."
Carriker has just begun collecting vendor applications for the October festival, so he's not sure what the festival food will look like just yet.
He's expecting to see more standard entries such as bacon soup and bacon-wrapped shrimp as well as more daring, smoky-sweet mashups like chocolate-covered bacon and bacon souffles.
Ayo is still working on his bacon-specific offering for the festival, but he does know one thing he'll be serving at his vendor booth: boudin bacon.
He hopes his mashup will showcase the best of both food festivals in a single link.
"Y'all just come out and try the best bacon boudin y'all ever had," Ayo said. "It might be the only bacon boudin you ever had, but it'll be the best."