The next in a series of explorations of the cuisines and tastes of America, we’re going to take a look at New Orleans. With our obsession with American candy, chocolate and sodas we’ve been keen to do a little tour of the country they all originate from and understand a little bit more about its culture, cuisine and, most importantly, it’s desserts and candy.
Situated in Louisiana, New Orleans sits on the Mississippi river on the Gulf of Mexico in the South of the US. Nicknamed ‘The Big Easy’, New Orleans is famous for round-the-clock nightlife and its amazing food and history.
The city was founded in 1718 by Frenchman and Louisiana Governor Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, and was originally called La Nouvelle-Orleans.
It retains much of its French heritage in the language that many of the locals speak, the architecture and, of course, the cuisine which draws richly from its French-African roots.With black or African-Americans making up just under 60% of New Orleans’ population, it has a rich and diverse culture to share with the world.
One of the most famous dishes in the world originates from New Orleans and the only thing more quintessentially New Orleans than cooking a pot of Gumbo is arguing about how it’s made.
According to the official New Orleans tourist website, however, “With a heritage claiming both French and West African roots, gumbo is a thick stew served over rice and made with a roux (a mixture of butter and flour) and a wide variety of ingredients such as celery, peppers, okra, onions chicken, sausage and/or seafood.”
One of the dishes that has become absolutely synonymous with the city, Jambalaya represents the best of New Orleans cuisine, even becoming a noun in its own right to describe a mix of things not necessarily expected to go together but form something delicious.
It’s described as having “represented New Orleans since Colonial Spanish settlers tried reconstructing their native paella from locally-sourced ingredients. Today, the dish is comprised of a mix of meat –chicken, seafood or sausage or all three! — peppers, onions, other vegetables, spices and rice combined in a variety of ways”
A famous New Orleans dessert, these delicious treats can really only be found in the French quarter of the city and are nothing more than deep-fried dough covered in a mound of powdered sugar.
The beauty is in the simplicity and speak to any local and they’ll tell you that you can only get real Beignets in New Orleans. The reason we’ve included them here is because they’re often topped with candy and chocolates around the Mardis Gras season.
Hershey chocolates, Reese’s Pieces, Jolly Ranchers, you name it and they’ll probably top your desserts with them. Easy enough to make at home, simply follow a reliable recipe to deep fry the dough with the correct doses of cinnamon and toppings, and you’ve got a uniquely delicious dessert to impress friends with.