New Orleans French Doughnuts
Beignets are the state doughnut of Louisiana. Pronounced, "ben-yay", New Orleans locals often call them "French Doughnuts" or "French Market Doughnuts". Beignets were brought to Louisiana in the 1800's by the French Acadians from Nova Scotia. Although you're free to serve them any way you prefer, the traditional New Orleans beignet is a square piece of dough, about 3" x 3". They're deep-fried until they get puffy, and then they're served hot and covered generously in powdered sugar. Like a sloppy roast-beef poboy or hot boiled crawfish, eating beignets is usually messy, with bits of the powdered sugar winding up in the darndest places. But somehow, that's part of the charm.
While excellent beignets can be found at many New Orleans restaurants and coffee shops, the most famous beignet in town is still the original from Cafe Du Monde, or CDM as it is often referred to. Located in the French Quarter, on the banks of the Mississippi River, overlooking beautiful Jackson Square, a trip to this famous New Orleans landmark is a must for visitors to the city. Cafe Du Monde has been operating in the French Market since 1862. Their hours are simple - "we never close". As wonderful as the Beignets are at Cafe DuMonde, it's possible that they may just be the third best thing you'll experience there. First, as any coffee drinker will tell you, beignets and coffee just plain go together. Cafe Du Monde's signature cafe au lait is the hands down favorite to accompany your order of beignets. Although, you could order a cup of coffee in "basic black", be warned, their black dark roast coffee with chicory is strong, even by local standards. Try a sip if you'd like, but be prepared to "water it down". Better yet, just stick with their cafe au lait. Either way, the coffee and donuts at Cafe Du Monde make an unbeatable combination. Second, while you're sitting at this open-air cafe (technically, there is an inside, but nobody sits there unless they have to), the people-watching opportunities are some of the best in the world. Whether it's someone at the table squeezed next to you, or someone walking down Decatur Street (or someone watching you), you're sure to enjoy some memorable sights at any time of the day or night. From local residents, to tourists from all parts of the globe, to famous celebrities stopping by in their limousines, this New Orleans tradition is something everyone should experience.
If you can't make it to New Orleans, bring a little of the fun home to you. Savor the flavor and try some New Orleans style French donuts and coffee today.