A Must Eat Experience in New Orleans – sugar coated beignets at Cafe du Monde
My trip to New Orleans came about at the last minute. We are talking less than 48 hours from buying my flight to touching down in party central. Needless to say, I immediately turned to social media to find out what I had to do on this trip! Everyone said that I had to go to Cafe du Monde for their beignets! It is considered a New Orleans icon!
Words like melt in your mouth, little pillows of heaven, coffee shop on steroids and a number of “must try”s from multiple people meant that I would be finding my way to Cafe du Monde on Decatur St during my stay. I had visions of going for a morning run along the River Walk before indulging in a serving of deep fried goodness covered in powdery icing sugar. Well…that never happened. The place was packed. Every time I went by, I looked in to see people everywhere….the wait staff quickly scurrying between delivering the beignets and clearing the plates. I thought I could just pick a different time of day and it would quiet down. I don’t think it ever does.
The French Quarter Cafe du Monde is open 24/7, however there is a total of eight locations to make sure you get your fix! Regardless of all the choice and mixed reviews on service, I still had my heart set on the Decatur St location. Opened in 1862, it is the original coffee stand and is right in the heart of all of the New Orleans action. Roving jazz bands could be found serenading the crowds and not once did I see it anything less than packed.
I finally made my way over after a couple days in town. Once again, the line outside the cafe was huge and momentarily, I was worried. Would I get in? Turns out, it wasn’t a problem at all. I went straight in, found a table full of empty plates covered in icing sugar and sat right down. They are not a please wait to be seated venue…just come on in and find a seat.
I have read a number of people’s complaints about the cleanliness of the place, but I really have to say – I didn’t see a problem. A waitress came over right away and cleared my table, wiping down the icing sugar and taking my order. Before I was even ready with my camera, my plate of beignets arrived. It was faster than I ever would have guessed, especially given the crowds.
The beignets were everything I expected and more. They were still warm and the icing sugar practically melted in my mouth as I dove in! I had no problem devouring my plate of 3 squares. A stop at the Cafe du Monde is a must do on the New Orleans Bucket List - there is a reason it has become so touristy! I promised myself at least one more visit before I left…they were really that good!
A little background on the beignets.
Beignets are square, French style doughnuts, generously covered in silky icing sugar. They are the official state doughnut of Louisiana (I didn’t even know states had an official donut!) The ties between New Orleans and Canada are many, and the beignets are no exception. In the 17th century, French settlers brought the beignets to the eastern coast of Canada, a region also known as Acadia. The migration south of many of the descendants of these people is what brought this delicacy to Louisiana.
- Bring the flavour of New Orleans home – the beignet mix is available at the cafe and gift shops around town! The best price is at the take out window at the coffee shop
- Don’t wear black. Chances are, there will be a little icing sugar snowstorm to contend with.
- Cash only – you don’t want to be caught out. How embarrassing.
- The standard order is the beignets and a cafe au lait. You’ll get 3 beignets per order and you are not likely to want to share.
- As a non coffee drinker, I was out of luck – there was no tea on offer, however they do have decaf coffee, soft drinks, milk and OJ. For hot summer days, they also have iced coffee on offer.