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The Bayou Doughnut

Aug 17, 2007
New Orleans is famous for many things including jazz music, and Mardi Gras to name a few. There are so many attractions in the bayou that it can be hard to try all the things you want in the short time you are there. Many people have to take several, or even dozens of trips to get their New Orleans adventures accomplished.

One stop everyone should make when visiting New Orleans is the Cafe Du Monde bakery. This is the original French Market Coffee Stand which sells that most original New Orleans confection called a beignet, the sweet baked treat that is part bread, part doughnut.

Beignets were brought to Louisana by the Acadians. The Acadians were descendants of approximately 100 French families who settled along the shores of the Baie Francaise (now the Bay of Fundy) in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia during the 17th century.

After some turmoil in Nova Scotia, several of these families migrated to an area in what is now Louisiana. These people, and this culture, became known as Cajun ... a derivation of the word Acadian.
They, of course, brought with them many of the French foods, customs, heritage and traditions they had known in the "old country."

One of those "old country" French foods was a fried fritter sometimes filled with fruit that they called a beignet. Today, the beignet is a fried piece of dough, fried and sprinkled with powered sugar. At Cafe Du Monde they are generally served in threes along with a steaming cup of cafe' au lait, a mixture of 1/2 hot coffee, 1/2 hot milk.

Now, coffee is another food which was first introduced to North America by way of New Orleans in the mid 1700s. Coffee had been cultivated in Martinique in the early 1700s and the French brought it along with them as they began to settle new colonies along the Mississippi.

Back in the "old country", the French mixed chicory with their coffee to soften the bitter taste of dark roasted coffee. Chicory is the root of the endive plant and when it is roasted it can be ground just like coffee beans. The mixture of chicory with the coffee adds an almost chocolate flavor to the coffee.

The Acadians from Nova Scotia brought this mixture of coffee and chicory with them when they settled in Louisiana.

The beignet has been a staple of New Orleans cuisine for decades, but it hasn't yet enjoyed widespread consumption. In fact, it is a major challenge to find beignets for purchase outside Louisiana. There are several places around the U.S. that sell beignets, however they are specialty stores that are only located in major cities and have small selections of these baked treats.

Absolutely the best way to enjoy a beignet is to travel to New Orleans and go to a local bakery which sells them. The most famous one being the Cafe Du Monde where they are served with another tradition -- cafe au lait.

The combination of beignets and sweet coffee is as delightful as it is filling. The beignet is deceiving in its looks as a light pastry; it is actually sweet bread that can fill you up in no time at all. The beignet is a world famous pastry with little sales outlets outside of New Orleans, so it should be a must on anyone's to-do list when visiting New Orleans.

Many websites offer beignet cookbooks, and recipes online, however nothing tastes better then the real thing. Maybe it's something in the water, or maybe it's just the fresh cafe au lait that is brewed to go along side the beignet, but something about eating it in the "Big Easy" makes it all the more scrumptious.
About the Author
Della Franklin is a business owner, successful IT Systems Manager & Internet Marketer. She counts 10 years experience as a teacher as well as being a Certified Network Engineer, cook, wife & mother. See more about her at http://www.foodielooksatfood.com or http://www.dogwoodsquare.com
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