Over the past decade, local bakeries and pastry chefs have made a concerted effort to elevate the Carnival Season favorite to something worthy of fine china and in varieties that delight every palate. Here are four you should pick up before Fat Tuesday.
'New Orleans' on Serious Eats
Mardi Gras in New Orleans may be known for its over-the-top parades and parties, but don't forget it's also one of the most festive and dessert-centric celebrations in the city (or anywhere, really). Check out these eleven New Orleans-inspired desserts that will keep you in high spirits on Fat Tuesday and beyond.
The signature baked good of Carnival season in New Orleans, king cake is comprised of a ring of rich, brioche-like dough and any number of sweet fillings, from cinnamon to cream cheese. (Also, watch out from the plastic baby inside!)
When I tried my first piece of king cake I was about five drinks deep standing on a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street. Or as they call it in New Orleans, at a rehearsal dinner.
Dinner at Root in New Orleans is like a date with Willy Wonka, full of purposeful whimsy. My clafoutis was a perfect illustration of that.
When she's not being honored for desserts like the grilled vanilla bean panna cotta with satsuma sorbet and pistachio brittle at La Petite Grocery, pastry chef Bronwen Wyatt is checking out the sweets in the rest of New Orleans. From pecan pie griddled on a flattop to modern sno balls, check out all her favorites.
While folks come to New Orleans's Jazz Festival for the music, there's no argument that they stay for the snacks, which have become the stuff of legend over the course of Jazzfest's storied 43 year history.
The love that Ponchatoula, LA, has for strawberries can only be compared to the kind of adoration usually reserved for sports stars and pop icons: elaborate fountains spout pink water in front of the local history museum, the street signs are all emblazoned with a strawberry motif, and Louisiana has official given the designation of "Strawberry Capitol of the World" to this sleepy hamlet. So you can imagine that the annual strawberry festival is not to be missed.
While heavy-handed desserts still have their place in New Orleans, a new wave of inventive chefs are taking steps to reimagine dishes on their own terms, bringing a lighter, more delicate, nuanced refinement to classic meal-ending bites. Here are three places leading the way.
New Orleans may be best known around these parts for beignets and King Cake, but when it comes time to celebrate your birthday in the Big Easy, it's the over the top Doberge Cake—that's pronounced DOUGH-bash for the folks at home—that steals the show.
There are few places in the States as closely associated with Mardi Gras as New Orleans and while NOLA has gifted us with many wonderful additions to American cookery, beignets are top of mind with Mardi Gras so near at hand.
This year we're celebrating Mardi Gras in true New Orleans style—in other words, with lots of fun (and good eats) leading up to the big day. Want to follow along? Choose your poison with these 9 treats inspired by classics of the Big Easy.
The traditional king cake is a beloved favorite, but for those who want to break out of the mold, Cake Café offers a modern spin: a goat cheese and apple cake that has become a signature for the bakery and a tradition in its own right.
If you want to get the proper sno ball experience without compromising your insulin balances for the rest of the day, Beaucoup Juice on Freret Street is a must-visit. The shop has that New Orleans kind of funk: bare concrete floors, good music on the stereo, and psychedelic wall murals that, upon closer inspection, double as menus.
There's no doubt that the combination of caramel and pecans is a winning one. At Maple Street Patisserie, this southern combo meets a New York specialty in the Praline Cheesecake. The product is a decadently creamy, crustless mini-cheesecake topped with a golden swirl of caramel and a couple of crunchy, salty pecans.
It may be cooling down in the rest of the country, but in New Orleans, summer heat is still in full swing. Luckily, the city offers plenty of options for those who want to "air condition their stomach" with a sno-ball, popsicle, or scoop of ice cream. Here are a few of our favorite ways to satisfy our sweet tooth and cool off at the same time.
Shaved ice in Louisiana is a simple affair of ice and flavored syrup, yet not just any shaved ice joint can produce a cone as fine as Hansen's on Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans. Hansen's stainless steel ice-shaving machine is the key to its success. This beast yields shavings of ice as light as snowflakes, finer than any I have tasted before.
Angelo Brocato, a Sicilian immigrant, opened the New Orleans shop more than a century ago in 1905, as one of the city's first sit-down parlors. Now in its third generation of the Brocato family, Angelo's original recipes are used to this day.
New Orleans has always had great ways to make the best out of its sweltering days. A sno-ball from Hansen's Sno-Bliz is definitely one of my favorites, a strawberry daiquiri from any number of drive-thru outlets falling shortly behind, and an ice-cold Abita root beer will always do the trick. But recently I discovered some refreshing homemade popsicles from Meltdown Popsicles, located in the French Quarter.
Mardi Gras can get lost in the shuffle of holidays. All of a sudden "Fat Tuesday" has passed and you haven't celebrated. But it's not too late, and what better way than with a delicious Southern-style bread pudding?