We were told to not miss the beignets while we were in New Orleans. We went to the famous Cafe du Monde and had our first beignets. We were not disappointed! Beignets are pronounced "ben-yays." Beignets are fried pastry similar to doughnuts, but are more crispy. We did not have the cafe au lait because I'm not a coffee drinker and Joe didn't think he would like the strong chicory coffee even though it is mixed with hot milk.

The famous Cafe du Monde was established in 1953 and is still very much the same now as then.
The Great Tradition of Beignets and Café au Lait. In 1782 Spanish colonists established the trading area on the banks of the Mississippi River that we now know as the New Orleans French Market. From the beginning this market housed coffee stands. Coffee vendors were the elite of the merchants but got along well with the ethnic and social mix of customers who drank coffee throughout the business day. By the early 1800's, the custom of taking coffee at the French Market had spread throughout New Orleans society. The French Market's corner coffee stand opened in the 1830's and continues to operate today in the same location. From its inception, this coffee stand served up the typical strong coffee of the day and its soon to be famous beignets.It is believed that the Ursuline Nuns of France, who came to Louisiana in 1727, brought this simple pastry to New Orleans. The recipe remains the same to this day. The beignets are hand rolled and deep fried then covered with heaping amounts of powdered sugar. By the mid 1800's beignets had become a welcome treat for all social classes at all hours of the day.As is still the tradition, beignets were most often enjoyed with café au lait. In New Orleans, café au lait is strong dark roast coffee and chicory, served with equal part hot milk. In the early history of Louisiana, chicory was added to coffee to stretch dwindling supplies. It was found that, in addition to stretching supplies, the chicory also created a smoother, richer brew. The addition of hot milk to strong coffee and chicory created one of the oldest and greatest coffee traditions in the world.
As this tradition approaches its 200th year, beignets and café au lait have become symbolic of the old world charm of New Orleans and the French Quarter.


LTD said...

I found the history of the cafe. Beignets and Cafe au Lait so interesting. The Beignets looks so yummy!!!

~Becca~Bluebird Rose said...

These beignets sound like they are similar to funnel cakes in texture and taste ~ in other words, YUM!!

Penless Thoughts said...

Interest information. We always was to do all the "local" things when we visit different places. Love tea rooms and that type thing.

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

Thanks to all of you for your comments. I wish we could get together and sample a beignet!