In an earlier post, I detailed Five Must-Have Louisiana Souvenirs. Take a piece of Louisiana on the road with you and tuck these five additional Bayou State souvenirs into your RV.
1. Louisiana-Made Hot Sauce
Since Cajuns like their food with a little kick it’s no surprise that there are numerous other hot sauces produced in Louisiana. The appropriately named Louisiana Hot Sauce, Crystal Hot Sauce, C’est Bon Gourmet Cajun Pepper Sauce, Bayou Butt Burner, and Cajun Power Sauce will bring a taste of Louisiana to your meals back in the RV.
2. A King Cake Baby
King Cakes are a vibrant part of the Mardi Gras tradition with literally hundreds of thousands of King Cakes consumed every year. Inside every cake is a tiny baby (generally plastic now). Take at least one King Cake baby in the RV with you.
Originally, King Cakes were a simple ring of dough with a small amount of decoration. Today’s King Cakes are much more festive. After the rich Danish dough is braided and baked, the “baby” is inserted. The top of the ring or oval cake is then covered with delicious sugar toppings in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold.
In more recent years, some bakeries have been creative with stuffing and topping their cakes with different flavors of cream cheese and fruit fillings.
3. Mardi Gras Beads
Mardi Gras beads have been popularized for their widespread use on Fat Tuesday. Each year, crowds of people line up to snag as many beaded necklaces as their necks can hold.
During the late 1800s, inexpensive necklaces made of glass beads began to be tossed into the crowds by the parade krewes.
Over the years, other Mardi Gras souvenirs have also been passed out to the crowds during the parades such as plastic cups, toys, Frisbees, figurines, and doubloons. Despite all of these other souvenirs, bead necklaces remain the most popular trinket passed out during the celebration. Today, Mardi Gras beads can be found in various sizes, shapes, and colors.
The most popular size today is about thirty three inches long. They are also now made with cheaper and safer materials like plastic and aluminum rather than glass.
Traditional Mardi Gras beads are purple, green, and gold colors. The purple symbolizes justice, the green represents faith, and the gold signifies power.
Make sure you snag numerous Mardi Gras beads—they make for colorful decorations around the RV.
4. Café Du Monde Coffee and Chicory and Beignet
From Beignets to Café Au Lait, Café Du Monde has been a New Orleans tradition since 1862.
The Original Café Du Monde is a traditional coffee shop. Its menu consists of dark roasted Coffee and Chicory, Beignets, White and Chocolate Milk, and fresh squeezed Orange Juice.
The Café Du Monde Coffee and Chicory is traditionally served Au Lait, mixed half and half with hot milk. Chicory is the root of the endive plant. Endive is a type of lettuce. The root of the plant is roasted and ground. It is added to the coffee to soften the bitter edge of the dark roasted coffee. It adds an almost chocolate flavor to the Café Au Lait served at Café Du Monde.
Beignets are square French -style doughnuts, lavishly covered with powdered sugar. Beignets were brought to Louisiana by the Acadians. These were fried fritters, sometimes filled with fruit. Today, the beignet is a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar.
Beignets are nearly impossible to find outside of Louisiana, so your best bet is to buy a box or two of the mix and make your own back in the RV. Café Du Monde coffee is available in Coffee and Chicory, Coffee and Chicory Decaf, and French Roast.
5. Louisiana Brewery Trail
It was only a matter of time before Louisiana’s craft breweries heeded the call to make flavorful beers that complement the state’s food culture. Many Louisianians’ first taste of craft beer came from Abita Brewing Company after opening for business in 1986. Abita beer is a staple in many Louisiana recipes and has become a favorite of chefs and eaters alike.
Now, amidst the American craft beer boom, malt and hops are flourishing along the bayous of Louisiana. Seven craft breweries are open for business, each unique in their efforts, their people and their beers, yet similar in their quests to create flavorful beers that pay tribute to Louisiana’s culinary traditions.
In the heart of Acadiana, Parish Brewing Company and Bayou Teche Brewing represent the soul of Cajun heritage. In Baton Rouge, Tin Roof Brewing Company plays a melody of hops that awaken the spirit of Louisiana’s capital city. Covington Brewhouse and Chafunkta Brewing Company join Abita Brewing Company on Lake Pontchartrain’s north shore.
And in the Big Easy, NOLA (New Orleans Lager and Ale) Brewing Company captures the essence of jazz, the heart of Mardi Gras, and the flavor of Louisiana life.
So while in Louisiana, drink like a local and take a six-pack or two in the RV with you.
Please Note: This is Part 22 of an on-going series on Louisiana Cuisine/Travel Ideas
Way down yonder in New Orleans
In the land of dreamy scenes
There’s a garden of Eden
You know what I mean.
—Louis Armstrong 1901-1971