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Louisiana Food Origins: Beignets

April 30 2012 | What's New

This month, New Orleans Restaurants serves up some history in our Louisiana Food Origins series! Discover the birthplaces of your favorite dishes, from jambalaya and gumbo to oxtail soup and Eggs Sardou.

We can’t think of a better way to conclude April’s Louisiana Food Origins series than with dessert. And could there be a more iconic New Orleans dessert than beignets? The scrumptious squares of fried dough, heaped with powdered sugar and served piping hot, are Louisiana’s official doughnut, though they’re made differently all over the state.

Some trace the word “beignet” to the early Celtic word “bigne,” meaning “to raise.” But the beignet itself may have originated even earlier in Spain, where cooks have been serving up deep-fried “bunuelos” for centuries.

How did beignets get to New Orleans? Opinions are split. But whether the Ursuline nuns brought beignets with them from France in 1727, or the culinary custom hitched a ride down from Canada with the Acadians in the 1750s, they’ve been a delicious part of Louisiana food culture ever since.

You can find beignets filled with jelly, fruit, chocolate or savory stuffings like meat, cheese or potatoes--but in our opinion, there’s no improving on a classic. If you know your traditions, you’ll pair your order with a cafe au lait. Bon appetit!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our blog series on the origins of some of Louisiana’s traditional foods! Stay tuned in May for the best places to eat on a date, a business lunch and other occasions! And as always, let us know what you think at feedback[at]

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