|Industry||Processed & Packaged goods|
|Founded||New Orleans (1889)|
|Headquarters||New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.|
|Products||Spices, herbs, flavorings, rice|
|Owner||McCormick & Company|
The company was started in the New Orleans suburb of Gretna by Émile A. Zatarain, who took out a trademark and began to market root beer in 1889. He expanded his product range to include mustard, pickled vegetables, and extracts. Then he moved into the spice business and became known for New Orleans and Cajun-style products. In 1963 the family sold the business. The company was acquired in 2003 by McCormick & Company, the world's largest spice company.
Zatarain is a surname of Spanish Basque origin, but is commonly mistaken as Cajun French. It is translated as "fishing pit" or "fishing hole" in the Gipuzkoan dialect of Basque, Translated from Euskara Batua, Standardized Basque. The surname takes its name from a house in Pasaia of Gipuzkoa region, Basque country, Spain. Current data suggests all individuals around the world that bear this unique surname originate from just one man who lived in Gipuzkoa; during the 16th century, whom of which he had just converted to the Roman Catholic faith. Many of his male descendants were chosen by the Monarchy of Spain as expatriates for colonist work and trading. The first Zatarain seemed to bear no female descendants into the new world, and it is apparent that all female descendants of Zatarain stayed in Basque country. Blood-lines of both sexes bearing the surname can still be found in [Spain] and [France], today.
The company produces Cajun and Creole cuisine related food items, in five categories:
- Crab and shrimp boils: these are used to prepare boiled seafood and in hosting the social event known as a seafood boil. The boil is a mesh bag (formerly cheesecloth) containing spices, including mustard seed, coriander seeds, allspice, bay leaf, and black pepper. The company also offers a liquid concentrate crab boil that can be used in lieu of the mesh packets to enhance soups.
- Creole mustard, a common item in New Orleans food, is a stone-ground brown mustard, often referred to as "hot mustard" to differentiate it from standard American yellow mustard.
- Fish-Fri, seasoned cornmeal.
- Ready-to-serve dinners, including gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, and black beans and rice contain precooked beans, rice, and seasonings, to which consumers may optionally add meat. The dinners are available in two forms: frozen, for heating in a microwave oven, or in a package to which water is added before cooking on a stovetop or in a microwave oven.
- Seasonings include cayenne pepper, root-beer extract and mixes and blends similar to the kinds of pre-blended seasonings made popular by Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse.
The company still manufactures root beer extract for home preparation and brewing.