The city of New Orleans has a sweet side; covered in flambéed sauces, chilled with ice-cold concoctions and dusted in powder sugar, making the dessert scene tasty enough to tame the biggest sweet tooth! Here is a guide to some of our favorite classic desserts that can be found around the city.
What began as a creative way to use yesterday's bread has progressed into a popular dessert course and a New Orleans menu mainstay. Soaked in milk, eggs and sugar, the bread is baked and topped with a sweet, typically bourbon-based sauce. Local chefs add their own spin on the dish, adding white chocolate, pecans and more. Find this staple at Commander's Palace and Café Reconcile.
This distinctive dessert is made with a fantastic combination of bananas that is flambéed (a cooking technique where liquor is added to a hot pan to briefly set the contents afire) with a sauce of dark rum, sugar and spices then served with ice cream. It was invented at the famous Brennan's Restaurant, established in 1946, and was one of the most popular items on the menu requiring 35,000 pounds of bananas each year!
This dessert is a staple in New Orleans. Take Louisiana-grown pecans and smother them in a creamy mixture of sugar and butter that is so rich you probably can't eat more than one. They're available, usually wrapped individually, at many gift shops in the city like Aunt Sally's Pralines or Leah's Pralines to start. If you don't want to sound like an outsider, ask for one by saying "praw-leen."
Sometimes called a "French donut," these decadent treats were brought to Louisiana by the Cajuns. A beignet is a square piece of dough that, upon being deep fried, forms a slightly doughy, slightly crispy pillow covered with powdered sugar. Indulge in beignets and chicory coffee at the famous Café Du Monde.
While king cake is eaten mostly during the Mardi Gras season, you can find it any time of year at establishments like Haydel's Bakery and Sucré, known for their king cakes. King cake is essentially a huge cinnamon roll with icing colored with the Mardi Gras theme — purple, green and gold. If you are lucky enough to receive the piece of cake with the plastic baby inside, you'll be continuing the festivities by hosting next year's Mardi Gras party or at least, buying the next king cake!
Snoballs are definitely not the same as snow cones. Snoballs are freshly shaved ice making it a consistency similar to that of snow, and the juice doesn't sink to the bottom of the cup like with crunchy snow cones. Around New Orleans in the summer, snoballs stands are packed. Each offers dozens of flavors, from wedding cake to margarita and more. You can get them "stuffed" with soft-serve ice cream or drizzled with condensed milk.
For a throwback candy with historic charm, try Roman Candy that is a chewy taffy sold in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. It has been made and sold by the Cortese family since 1915. You can find the original mule-drawn wagon in random places across the city, but your best bet is the Audubon Zoo. Long, thin sticks of the candy sell for 75-cents and come wrapped in wax paper. Find Roman Candy.
Learn more about New Orleans staple food dishes and where to eat them.