Happy Mardi Gras!! And, what better way to start this day than with a delicious and colorfully-decorated King Cake?
The king cake of the New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition comes in a number of styles. The most simple, said to be the most traditional, is an oval or round ring of twisted bread similar to that used in brioche or a cinnamon-roll-like cake topped with icing or fondant. The cake is then decorated with colored sugar, usually purple, green, and gold - the traditional Carnival colors or colors of Mardi Gras. The purple represents the passion of Christ or justice, the green represents hope or faith, and the gold represents power and the rewards of leading a Christian life.
There are many variants, some with a filling, the most common being cream cheese and praline. Cajun king cakes are traditionally deep fat fried as a doughnut would be. The cakes have a small trinket - often a small plastic baby, sometimes said to represent the Baby Jesus - hidden inside. The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations - such as being declared King or Queen for the day and buying the cake for the next celebration.
Our resident Chef and NOLA expert Eric Wingerter had his King Cake shipped directly from Haydel's Bakery. According to their website, "Each year during Mardi Gras, Haydel's ships overnight thousands of fresh, delicious Mardi Gras King Cakes directly from its ovens to anywhere in the U.S. and around the world."
Find Mardi Gras King Cakes locally here at our beaches at: The Fresh Market in cinnamon or cream cheese flavors; at Publix in cinnamon or cream cheese; and at Cinotti's Bakery in cinnamon or cream cheese.
For lunch, Chef Eric Wingerter says that everyone in NOLA grabs some Popeye's and finds a spot along the parade route. We might not have parades here, but, you can still throw on some beads, grab some Popeye's in Neptune Beach and get in the spirit and get ready for tonight!
Stay tuned today to find out where Chef Wingerter will be making a special guest Chef appearance for Mardi Gras - you don't want to miss him or his amazing authentic NOLA dishes!