Beignets are an integral part of any visit to the great city of New Orleans. There's nothing like waiting in line at Café du Monde for a bag of those fluffy, perfect powdered sugar doughnuts that seem to make coffee taste even better than it already did. While this is a bucket list item for many people, to ignore the rest of the dessert list that's so iconic to New Orleans' history and culture would be to forget how deeply rooted its food culture truly is.
Beignets certainly aren't the only sweet dish that the city is known for and while they're one of the most popular items, they make up one of many. When dining out or stopping into the city's incredible bakeries, there are just some things that a visitor should be trying. Each New Orleans dessert is like diving back in time and experiencing the city's local flair and flavor. Each bite through a new dessert is like coming home, in a sense, to one of the greatest cities in the country.
Bananas foster is a dessert that's quite dramatic in presentation and that's half the fun. Bananas get a nice flambé after taking a dip in a copious amount of rum, which allows the alcohol to burn off but leaves behind the sweet, caramelized flavor of butterscotch. Added to the pan are brown sugar and banana liqueur, as well, furthering enhancing the sweetness of this dish.
It wouldn't be complete without a scoop of vanilla ice cream over the top, though, and this is what cuts through all of that sugary goodness down below. This dessert can be found all over New Orleans and even in dessert cafes.
An iconic southern staple, to say the least, bread pudding has had a long history with the southern states. In New Orleans, though, bread pudding gets special treatment. Many people would overlook a plate full of classic bread pudding because it seems overly simple but in Louisiana, this is not the case.
This dessert starts off average enough with bread, eggs, vanilla, cream, and occasionally nuts and raisins. However, when it's finished, it gets topped with a heaping spoonful of warm rum sauce which elevates the whole dish and adds that classic New Orleans flair.
Yet another southern staple, pralines can be found all over the south but especially in New Orleans. These cookies are made with sugar, cream, and nuts, and are simple in their components but absolutely delicious in their flavors.
They're actually pretty addicting once you grow a liking to them and it's hard to eat just one, especially when there are three different types. French pralines tend to have more of a crunch, American pralines are a bit chewier, and Belgian pralines have an outer layer of chocolate coating and include a range of nuts in the recipe.
Yes, pain perdu is essentially french toast but that doesn't mean it's not absolutely delicious. Truly decadent in nature, this French version of french toast makes use of thick, fluffy bread that's soaked in a vanilla custard mixture before being pan-fried.
Traditionally, butter is used for frying which makes this dish even more indulgent. It's perfect to start the day with but it's also a hefty after-dinner dessert and can be found all over New Orleans.
Roman candy, or Roman chewing candy as it's called in Louisiana, is taffy. This sticky, sweet candy has been sold by the Cortese family since 1915 and you can still find the traditional wagons selling the candy throughout the city. The prices haven't changed much, either, with one stick costing between 75-cents and a dollar apiece.
The taffy comes in several flavors: strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla, and it's almost a rite of passage to get one if you happen to spot a wagon while exploring.
At its core, a snoball appears to be nothing more than a cup full of shaved ice similar to a snow cone. However, the way the ice is shaved allows the sugar syrup to be distributed throughout the shaved ice as opposed to a snow cone, where the ice is chunkier and allows the syrup to drip through to the bottom of the cup.
In a state as hot as Louisiana, a dessert like this makes perfect sense and you can even find them stuffed with soft-serve ice cream or with a drizzle of condensed milk over the top. These icy snoballs also come in some pretty fun flavors such as margarita and wedding cake, similar to Italian ice but without all of the fillings or the creamy base.