The only thing in New Orleans that rivals the legendary Bourbon Street experience is the food that abounds in this culinary paradise. New Orleans has the distinction of having over 20 restaurants and chefs that have won the prestigious James Beard Award. It seems that everywhere you look there are fabulous places to eat and it is not uncommon to find lines of people waiting patiently outside of some small cafés eagerly waiting to get their hands on whatever specialty the eatery has to offer. Being in the South you can always find good BBQ or fried catfish on a menu somewhere in the city. There are a few foods however that symbolize the New Orleans food culture or as the locals would say “Just good eating”. You may have tried some of these foods before but you will really enjoy it done the N’awlins way.
A Muffuletta is a sandwich made on a 10” round loaf of Italian sesame seed bread and filled with Italian salami, Italian ham, minced garlic, cheese and olive salad. In the early 1900’s a lot of the men that worked on the wharfs and in the produce stalls in the French Quarter area happened to be Italian immigrants. Needing something that would fill them up and not cost a lot of money they would go the Central Grocery and order some bread, a few slices of meat and cheese and as was the custom, spread it out and eat it all separately. The owner, an Italian immigrant himself, came up with the sandwich as a way to put everything together and make it easier to grab and eat in a hurry so they could get back to work. Today Central Grocery is still the best place to get a Muffuletta sandwich.
This sugary, caramel, pecan laden confection has been around New Orleans since the 17th century. Most people credit the chef of French diplomat Cesar du Plessis Praslin as the creator. In Europe pralines were made from ground nuts and chocolate. Since chocolate was expensive and pecans were plentiful the treat was adapted and became a New Orleans treat. Ever since its creation Pralines have been sold in shops and by street vendors hawking the sugary goodness. In the early days you would see ladies selling Pralines on the street for 5 cents. Step into the French Quarter today and you will still be greeted by vendors selling individually wrapped Pralines, although they cost more than a nickel now. Southern Candy Makers in the French Quarter has some of the best Pralines in town.
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