Historic Cafe #5: Café Du Monde

historical cafe Du Monde

Café du Monde captures everything fabulous about New Orleans in a single beignet. Culture, delicious food, history and flare are nestled in the Louisiana architecture- a mix of Spanish, French and British influences can be found in the landmark branch on Jackson Square.

Located in the French Market, the café dates back to the Choctaw Indians before European settlers arrived in the New World. Although the original building was built in 1771 by the Spanish, it was destroyed by a hurricane in 1812. Originally known as the Butcher’s Hall, today it is part of the novel French Market buildings.

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Today, tourists line up for the two savory, chicory items on the menu: café au lait and the pillow-y beignets. Those two starters have a history of their own. Coffee was brought to New Orleans by the French on the Mississippi River in the 1700’s. The chicory-blend comes from a blue daisy plant which produces a bitter taste and was developed by the New Orleans Creoles. It was infused with coffee during shortages and continued to be served at Café du Monde and other landmark restaurants in the city ever since.

As for the beignet, it originates from the Acadians or Cajuns from Nova Scotia who settled in Louisiana in the late 18th century. Believe it or not, the beignet is a doughnut although it doesn’t have a hole in the middle. Top that off with sugar powder and you have a beautiful doughy softness in every bite. They can also be accompanied by various fruit, maple syrup or even savory flavors. Don’t forget- at Café du Monde , beignets are always served in three’s.

By Pburka – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The mission statement of the franchise has always been to preserve tradition by “keeping things the way they’ve always been”, according to VP Burton E. Benrud, Jr. The menu always features dark-roasted coffee with chicory served black or au lait, hot chocolate and fresh-squeezed orange juice.

Throughout the city you can find over 8 stalls of smaller coffee kiosk to grab a dark roast and a beignet on the go, that also feature potent cold brews for a solid caffeine fix. Look for the green and white awnings of the main French Market location, open 24 hours a day for the nostalgic and fried food craving.

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