Find Food for your Soul with Louisiana’s Culinary Trails and Travel Ideas
Louisiana will be exhibiting in London at the National Geographic Traveller Food Festival on 16th & 17th July 2022
Louisiana is a culinary hub brought to life thanks to countless styles of cooking that are sure to knock the socks off your taste buds. Not only will the delicious cuisine keep you full and desperate for more, but Louisiana reckons the feel-good food is what has the state ranked as amongst the happiest in a recent scientific study. After all, the way to everyone’s heart is food – especially loaded with sugar and spice like so many Louisianan treats are.
Treat Your Taste Buds to the Tasty Trails in Louisiana.
In Louisiana, there are eight culinary trails to feed your soul and stock up your recipe book collection, that cover the whole state. As well as being a culinary centre, Louisiana is a cultural melting pot which makes for some of the most delicious recipes around.
Creole Crescent centres around the foods that made New Orleans a culinary star and made it magnetic to chefs. Visit Tammany Tastes trail if you are looking for seafood and the freshest produce. The trail Capital Cravings, in state capital Baton Rouge, is just as delicious. Something that will both burn your mouth and blow your mind are the seasoning and seafood on Bayou Bounty. Seafood Sensation brings all the southwest has; and you can tell when you taste the seafood and the boudin. Prairie Home Cooking is not only great for scenic drives but also perfect for home-cooked meals in family style. Red River Riches will take you to the north of the state and all around the globe with its inventive meals. The northernmost trail: Delta Delights will have you heading uphill for an absolute feast of southern delights.
Food and drink are not just food and drink in Louisiana: they’re a way of life. Foods have seasons, and not the other way around. When food comes first, it’s not surprising that the only dishes cooked are the best ones and that includes everything from the bright purple, green, and gold King Cake, to the brown rice and browned veggies of a delicious Jambalaya, found at the Jambalaya Festival in star Jambalaya town, Gonzales.
Many would agree that the signature treat in New Orleans is the beignet, a fried dough covered in icing sugar. Despite its origin (believed to be in France or Ancient Rome) New Orleans, or more specifically
Café Du Monde, is heralded as the beignet capital of the world. To further this, Now Orleans hosts an annual Beignet Festival – icing sugar heaven!
A po’boy is a staple in Louisiana culture. The so-called po’boy began as a ‘poor boy’ sandwich, which originated from the Martin Brother’s Market Restaurant and Coffee Stand in New Orleans during the 1929 streetcar strike. They were served to the workers in a show of support, and taste this powerful history at Mother’s Restaurant in New Orleans.
Native to the north is the traditional meat pie, from Natchitoches which is a delicious find. Similar to empanadas, they are full of beef, pork, and the classic seasonings of Louisiana food, and for the widest variety visit the Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival.
Eat as You Experience, Louisiana Offers Food and Festivals for All.
In Louisiana, it’s no surprise that cooking schools are open to the public: teaching about the history of the food, as well as offering lessons that show visitors how to make the delicacies. In the city of New Orleans, you can visit the New Orleans School of Cooking, and via both demonstrations and hands-on classes, you can be taught the secrets of jambalaya, shrimp creole, gumbo, pralines, and even bread pudding. However, if your trip is based in the capital of the foodie-state, visit the accredited Louisiana Culinary Institute in Baton Rouge where you can learn to cook some of the best Louisianan dishes.
If learning isn’t your thing, but the experience of Louisianan food is still right for you then take a peek at the innumerable food festivals hosted in the spicy southern state: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival whilst being a music festival it also brings the scent of good food with it. The festival is well-known for bringing some of Louisiana’s best dishes with it: po’boys, boudin balls, and crawfish bread. Gumbo Festivals are plenty in this state, because if there’s anything Louisiana is known for: it’s the million and three gumbo’s you can buy all over the state. Crawfish Festivals are almost as important as crawfish boils in the spring months, as temperatures and spirits rise. And if you can’t find local Crawfish Boil to gorge yourself on, the next best options are festivals. Mardi Gras in Eunice in the small Cajun prairie town experience culinary traditions from boucherie to cochon de lait, including, on Mardi Gras Day, a communal gumbo and all the traditions surrounding it.
Mardi Gras in Eunice isn’t the only Mardi Gras that’s worth a visit, the exuberant, exciting, and eclectic celebrations in party-hub New Orleans are massively attractive as well. From traditions such as the float parades, bead throwing, Bourbon Street shenanigans to the more subdued traditions held together in the delightful, flavourful, and colourful sweet bread of King Cake. The oval shape of the cake, represents the unity of all faiths. The bright colours the sugar adds to the top are also symbolic, the green representing faith, the purple representing justice, and the gold representing power. In many King Cakes you will find a baby Jesus figurine, and whoever finds it shall be gifted luck and prosperity as a result, whilst also being the monarch for the evening.
If you’re looking for spice, look no further than Avery Island, home of the iconic Louisianan hot sauce: Tabasco. The infamous sauce was first created in1868, over 150 years ago. Created by Edmund McIlhenny, it is now produced by the McIlhenny Company of Avery Island. It has transformed from their original Red Sauce of vinegar, Tabasco peppers, and salt into a collection of Siracha, Sweet & Spicy, Habanero, Chipotle, Jalapeño, Cayenne Garlic, Scorpion, and Buffalo style hot sauces. On this Island, you can see how the hot sauce is made via an in-depth factory tour, before enjoying the island’s Jungle Garden, leaving with a few Tabasco themed gifts from the Tabasco Country Store, together with the sauces if you can brave the 1,000–35,000 Scoville units.
The heart of Cajun Louisiana lies in the gentle hands of Lafayette, located in the southwest of this culinary masterpiece of a state. Due south of New Orleans, through the plantation houses and all the rich history there, it’s a gorgeous location brought to life with the spice of Cajun culture, with classic dance halls and music to enjoy alongside the food. When Lafayette was named the “South’s Tastiest Town” in 2012 by Southern Living, it introduced the area to the rest of the world, and to experience the tasty goodness, all you need to do is climb aboard a tour bus and enjoy the Cajun Food Tours. alternatively, experience the heart of Cajun via Chef-guided Culinary Tours by chef Patrick Mould, leading you on a multi-day experience that includes local gems, such as restaurants, and cooking classes.
At Houmas House Plantation Home in Darrow, Louisiana you can enjoy the Sugar Baron’s Feast, invite your friends and enjoy a special evening together. The Sugar Baron’s Feast includes a private tour of the mansion and a seven-course meal. Can’t do the feast? Dine at Latil’s Landing Restaurant on-site, your meal prepared by critically acclaimed Executive Chef Jeremy Langlois, who brings more than 20 years of experience to the table.
If Louisianan food is to your taste, but you’re still stuck in the UK, chefs Jeremy Langlois and Brian Landry are bringing the vibrancy and the best of Louisiana with them as they take the National Geographic Traveller Food Festival by storm, with demonstrations in the masterclass theatres each day.
As the Executive Chef at Houmas Latil’s Landing Restaurant, Jeremy masterfully and excellently creates and cultivates his cooking style “Nouvelle Louisiane”. At 22, he was made the youngest Executive Chef at any DiRONA (Distinguished Restaurants, of North America). Brian is the Chef/Owner of QED Hospitality, a restaurant operations management group that runs Jack Rose restaurant, the Bayou Bar, Hot Tin rooftop bar and the Silver Whistle Café within the Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans. At the Louisiana booth, you can enjoy tasty tidbits of Louisiana’s culinary culture and start planning your culinary adventure.
At the festival you can also get a taste of Bayou® Rum, which is distilled from locally grown sugarcane in southern Louisiana. Their molasses comes from the oldest family-owned and operated sugar mill in the United States. Utilising traditional methods with state-of-the-art technology from fermentation through distillation, maturation and bottling, Bayou Rum has earned its title of #1 Craft Rum in America*.