Here in Louisiana we barely have time to catch a breath after the Christmas holidays because we go right into the Carnival season, which begins on Twelfth Night. As soon as the new year begins, King Cakes are everywhere—bakeries, the supermarkets, and of course right here at Cajungocer.com.
So be prepared, and get your order in as soon as possible so you can begin hosting King Cake parties. If you donâ€™t already know about the history of these delightful cakes, let me fill you in. Years ago, a small coin or token, perhaps a bean or pecan half was hidden in the cake. Whoever finds the treasure (these days itâ€™s usually a tiny ceramic or plastic baby doll) is to host the next Kingâ€™s Cake party the following week. The ring-shaped cake is usually decorated with sugar tinted in the classic carnival colors of green, gold and purple symbolizing Faith, Power and Justice. The original cakes were made of a simple but rich yeast dough. Today many of them are filled with cream cheese, cinnamon, pecans and a host of other sweet delights.
While New Orleans is the usual destination for Carnival revelers, there are a lot of festivities as well in Acadiana. The Carnival season there is perhaps little less hectic than in the Crescent City, but lots of fun nevertheless. In downtown Lafayette, the Hub City of Acadiana, and in smaller surrounding communities, Mardi Gras is celebrated much like it is in New Orleans, but on a smaller scale.
Families arrive early to line the parade routes and the aroma of barbecue, fish-fries, and gumbo wafts through the air, mingling with the whiffs of street food—hot dogs, fried shrimp on a stick, and boudin on a bun.
I always get a kick watching people in masks and costumes decked out as jailbirds, cowboys, Indians, Louisiana governors, and voodoo queens sauntering along the streets with children in tow, dressed in clown costumes with painted faces.
One year, at a neighborhood party, two swamp creatures wrapped in Spanish moss deftly turned chicken, sausage and pork chops on the grill. I quietly prayed that neither would catch on fire!
Like our city cousins, food is the main ingredient in the festivities.
For instance, in the prairie towns of Church Point, Mamou, and Basile, there are courirs, the running of Mardi Gras in the rural communities. Costumed horseback riders gallop around the countryside gathering chickens, rice, and all the makings for a communal gumbo that is cooked at the end of the day.
If you canâ€™t come to Louisiana for Mardi Gras, you can certainly host your very own Carnival party. Browse our website and youâ€™ll find all the makings for a grand buffet. For instance, we have a wide assortment of boudin, the local rice and pork sausage that is a must for a Louisana-themed party. And donâ€™t forget the gumbo. Save yourself some time and energy and order your favorites from us! Be sure to have lots of rice and French bread to go along with the gumbo.