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Discover the Flavors of New Orleans with the Family

by Eugenia Lazaris

Jun 5, 2024

© James Kirkikis | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

New Orleans is well-known for its sites and sounds, but whenever I visit this exciting city on family travel, it’s always the food that fascinates me most. Food is one of the best ways to introduce kids to a city, not just because it teaches them to try new things, but also because it helps them learn a deeper nuance of the city’s identity.


The cuisine of the city is a melting pot representative of the cultures that made the city what it is today. Flavors represent the Creole, Cajun, French, African, Spanish and other roots of those who settled in the city, bringing with them the dishes of their homelands and blending them into a cuisine that is uniquely wonderful and full of flavor.


Throughout the city there are must-try items like beignets, little deep-fried pastries similar to donuts (sampling them at the world-famous Café du Monde is a must for anyone visiting the city); and po’boy sandwiches, which come filled with just about anything your heart desires, from fried shrimp or oysters to roast beef or fried alligator. These filling sandwiches are quintessential South and can be found just about anywhere in the city.


Dishes like jambalaya, a spicy dish of rice mixed with meats and seafood, blends flavors from a variety of cultural influences, while gumbo, a flavorful stew that is perhaps one of Louisiana’s most significant contributions to the culinary world, also finds its roots in a blend of cultures, namely Creole and Cajun. Etouffee, a seafood dish with a French name meaning smothered, really showcases the abundant seafood available in the area and can be flavored with either Cajun or Creole seasonings.


It is this incredible blend of flavors that makes New Orleans such a popular foodie destination, and I have yet to find a time of year when the food scene isn’t at its peak. But this June gives visitors even more reason to head to The Big Easy. The Grand Final of the Pastry World Cup may not happen until January 2025 in Lyon, France, but on June 11 you can get a hint of what to expect when New Orleans hosts a preliminary event of six teams of two chefs each vying for a spot in the finals.


Over the next two days, the city will host a preliminary contest of the Bocuse d’Or, a biennial world chef competition. Nine chefs and their commis (junior) chefs will compete on June 12 and 13 for a chance to represent their country in the competition’s Grand Final in Lyon, France.


While competing chef teams for these events will represent countries like Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Canada, Bolivia and the United States, just to name a few, the fact the events are held in New Orleans is a true testament to the extraordinary blend of cultures represented in the city’s cuisine, especially since the contestants are being tasked with creating dishes with ingredients such as alligator, grits, shrimp and crab. Events of the Pastry World Cup and the Bocuse d’Or will take place at New Orleans Ernest N. Memorial Convention Center, and tickets are available here.


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