If you are the kind of traveler that asks not "what to do...", but "where to eat..." New Orleans is a perfect destination for you. The cuisine here is inspired by African, European, and Native American cooking and is always exciting. Revel in seafood, Creole, and Cajun flavors, or the mixture of them all.
We created a list of souvenirs to take home with you to remember the tastes and flavors of the Big Easy.
This delicacy was named after a French diplomat from the early 17th century, hence the French name and pronunciation.
There are many legends of how this culinary masterpiece came to be so popular here. One of those tales suggests that diplomat du Plessis-Praslin was a known playboy and had his chef create this candy to lure in the ladies. Nobody really knows if he achieved his purpose with the help of sweets, but one thing is for sure - the delicacy is ever so popular in NOLA to this day.
When the candy first made its appearance on these shores, it was made of butter, cream, sugar, and almonds. However, almonds used to be a rare commodity here, so they got replaced with pecans, and became what they are known for today.
Fresh pralines taste very different from boxed ones in souvenir shops, so search for places that make them daily, like Southern Candymakers, located on Decatur Street in French Quarter.
This famous cafe practices adding chicory to its dark roasted coffee. This old tradition came from necessity. During the Civil War, after Louisiana became a member of Confederacy, the Union forces blocked the Mississippi River to the North and cut of the access to some products that were brought up here by the river. Coffee was one of those products. Local coffee makers started adding a native chicory plant root into the coffee. The plant was roasted and ground, and added a nice flavor and body to the drink.
New Orleans is the only place where you can get a jar of loose coffee infused with chicory. Cafe du Monde is located on Decatur Street.
This spicy pepper creation is made 180 miles away from New Orleans on Avery Island and is known world-wide. McIlhenny Company produces the sauce and states that it was first created in 1860s by Edmund Ilhenny, who received some Capsicum frutescence peppers seeds from South America, sowed them, raised the plants, and loved the flavor so much that decided to spice up the lives of many fellow Louisianans. The rest is history.
The original sauce was very simple. It included salt, peppers, and distilled vinegar. You can definitely find many varieties now, including such delicacies as Tabasco jelly, Tabasco popcorn, and Tabasco chocolate.
For more memorable tabasco infused items, check The New Orleans Cajun Store located in the French Quarter.
Crystal might not be as world-renowned spicy sauce as Tabasco is, but local foodies and cooks often prefer it to its more famous cousin. After all, Crystal is the most popular sauce in Louisiana.
This spicy creation is made right in the New Orleans and can be found in any supermarket. Crystal is also made from just three ingredients: distilled vinegar, aged cayenne pepper, and salt. The main distinction between the two sauces is that Tabasco uses vinegar as their main ingredient, while Crystal focuses on pepper.
Locals consider this spice to be the best Cajun spice in New Orleans. The secret of this mix is its simplicity. The only ingredients are salt, black pepper, red pepper, and garlic.
Anthony Walker, the owner of family deli in Ville Platte, invented this seasoning because he understood the need for simple Cajun spice mix to enhance his cooking. He explained where the name came from: mothers and cooks will create such amazing meals using this spice combination, that they will definitely earn a loving slap on the back or a kiss on the cheek for that.
This memorable name seasoning mix can be bought in local supermarkets.
The creator of this book is John Besh, known as chef, TV-show host, and restauranteur who specializes in Louisiana cooking techniques, flavors, ingredients, and textures. His mission is to preserve traditional southern cooking and promote it beyond Louisiana.
This book is known for the simplicity of the recipes. John Besh doesn't use huge amounts of ingredients and believes that less is more. The result is always spectacular and might just earn you that slap on the back.