During the 1800s, sugar cane harvested huge fortunes for New Orleans area plantation owners. Cane remains a major cash crop for Louisiana in the 21st century, contributing more than $2 billion annually to the state economy. Hungry for a taste of the Crescent City sweet life? Dig in.
8 am: A Beignet Kind of Day
Start the day at Café du Monde, the city’s oldest coffeehouse, which has been jolting java junkies with café au lait—and satisfying sweet tooths with powered sugar-dusted beignets—since 1862. Craving more? You’ll find it at Morning Call in City Park, which serves its beignets sans sugar; diners get do the dusting themselves. Donut devotees will get their fill at District, where the gourmet rounds are accompanied with gourmet grounds.
10 am: Sugar-Coated History
Take a road trip to Houmas House, once the nation’s largest sugar plantation, where a mural in the front foyer pays homage to sugarcane’s impact on Louisiana life. Nearby St. Joseph, a still-working sugarcane plantation, likewise explores cane’s economic importance on the region. Closer to the city is the Old Arabi Sugar Museum, located just a few blocks the Domino sugar refinery which produces 8 million pounds of the sweet stuff each day.
2:30 pm: Sweet Shops
Swing by Sucré for award-winning pastry chef Tariq Hanna’s must-have macaroons and decadent chocolates, or Blue Frog Chocolates to pick a bouquet of Italian candy-coated flowers.
3:30 pm: Praline Prowl
Aunt Sally’s Pralines’ new St. Charles Avenue location offers one-hour tours that highlight the history of New Orleans’ quintessential sweet and provide tips for making them yourself. While there, grab a a few boxes for the folks back home.
7 pm: The Big Finale
How to finish things off? With dessert, of course. Antoine’s baked Alaska, the bread pudding soufflé at Commander’s Palace and Emeril’s towering banana cream pie are all considered Crescent City classics—and rightly so. For a real taste of tradition, pay a visit to Angelo Brocato’s, which has been dishing up authentic Italian treats for more than a century.