Beignets

Beignets and Cafe au Lait in the wee hours of the morning.   Cafe du Monde has been open 24 hours a day serving up beignets and coffee since the 1860’s.  My visits to the French Quarter in New Orleans were frequent in the late seventies and they were always capped off by a plate of beignets with a steaming cup of Cafe au Lait.

A beignet (ben YAY) is a French fritter, similar to a yeast doughnut, that’s deep-fried until crisp, puffy and golden.  It’s typically served hot with a generous dusting of powdered sugar.  Puffy doughnut pillows under a blanket of powdered sugar, warm beignets are a sweet invitation to Southern Louisiana.

Chicory makes the distinctive difference in French Market coffee and I’ve been craving a cup.  I think my college days were responsible for cultivating my unique taste in coffee.  I like it strong and a bit spicy.  Today, coffee with chicory is common throughout Europe.  It is stronger, darker and is a less bitter brew.  The people of New Orleans imported French chicory into their town and combined it with their own dark roasted beans.

For some reason I’ve been craving beignets and chicory coffee.  Maybe it is a sign that I’m aging and wanting to re-visit my youth. Have any of you ever enjoyed a heaping plate of beignets at Cafe du Monde on a sultry New Orleans night?

5 Comments on “Beignets

  1. Having spent a good chunk of my life growing up in Louisiana, I’ve had many a beignet at Cafe du Monde and you’ve made my mouth water. It’s been far too long. Now I’m going to have to get some sourdough going so I can make my own. 😉

  2. Actually, I have ! I have been to the Cafe du Monde ! I have had beignets and coffee there ! Weird, because I have hardly travelled in my life worth mentioning, but was with a boyfriend in ’89 who was Cajun Obsessed, and so he took me to Louisianna, and I got to stay with a cajun family for a week, and we went to the FrenchQuarter. Oh my goodness, what beautiful colors I recall the ornate iron-gated community to be, and I did love to see it. THe party life wasn’t for me, and it was a little too MardiGras full-time, so I couln’t have stayed too long. We also went to Preservation Jazz Hall, and I had the worst coffee of my life there, but tried to enjoy the experience of the music. I went to the Market in the French Quarter, and also saw some cajun and zydeco music festival. But I think , really, honestly, that the coffee & beignets were my favorite memory of that whole epic trip. Wow, 24 hours a day since 1860’s? That’s incredible ! Thanks for posting.

  3. Sadly, I have never been to New Orleans, and have never had chicory coffee.

    I -have- had beignets, though. Yum.

  4. I have lived in New Orleans (no place like it) all my life and was raised on Coffee and Chicory since a child. All the children are given “coffee milk” at a very early age by their grandmothers. Beignets are wonderful, but you have to put plenty of powedered sugar on them!!

  5. I’ve never been to a southern state, alas, but it’s not aging that’s making you crave beignets & French Coffee. It sounds delicious.

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