Earlier this year, we told you about the New Orleans French Market on Decatur Street. Once a Native American Trading Post became an actual market area in about 1779. In the early 1800’s, the French Market was finally changing from tent-structures and roaming sales to more permanent buildings, and as much business came from the locals as from the foreign ships and traders. And everyone knew that come midnight each night, the Market would slowly awaken to prepare for the morning business with coffee and bread providing sustenance.
In 1862, in response to what had become the normalcy of the coffee-loving lifestyle, Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand opened in the French Market as the first permanently-located cafe… and there it still stands today!
When you visit, you will find dark roasted Coffee and Chicory, Beignets, and…
Let me pause for a moment to clarify these terms that are common in NOLA, but some of you may not be familiar with.
So everyone knows what Coffee is: that dark liquid that starts so many people’s day – it’s rich scent drawing you into its warming and waking properties. In NOLA, you ask for your coffee either “Black” or “Au Lait” (half coffee and half hot milk). From there, you can do with it as you please with the sugars, flavorings, and whatnot…
Now Chickory? That’s the root of the Endive lettuce. Yes really! If you roast it, grind it, and mix it with Coffee, it takes away bitterness and adds an almost chocolate flavor to the drink (which the ladies love). The French actually discovered this fact during their Civil War when Coffee was hard to come-by, and Chickory was mixed in to add flavor and body to any meager rations. Why they chose to dry and grind lettuce stems to add to coffee, we’ll never know… but we’re thankful for the result!
Beignets are delicate little pastries covered with powdered sugar: the perfect pairing for what might be bitter coffee if you don’t order Au Lait or Chickory. Well, it’s actually an incredible pairing for these two drinks as well… and a staple breakfast food in New Orleans! We thank the Acadians who started this tradition by originally frying fritters (sometimes with fruit) and selling them to be consumed with Coffee in the French Market.
Now, as I was saying.
When you visit the Cafe Du Monde, you will find dark roasted Coffee and Chicory (available in Natural Decaf), Beignets (in orders of three), Milk (both white and chocolate), and fresh-squeezed Orange Juice: everything a body needs to start a great day in our great city. Time and lifestyle changes also added Iced Coffee and Soft Drinks to the menu options. And you can stop by at almost any time since the Cafe is open 24-7, save for Christmas Day and the occasional hurricane storm.
Nowadays, the Cafe Du Monde can be found in more places than just its original French Market site – lucky for you AND the locals! Riverwalk Marketplace, three malls around the city (Oakwood, Lakeside, and Esplande), Veterans Boulevard, Williams, Mandeville, and Covington are all home to a branch of the Cafe Du Monde. Want tokens from the Cafe? Take a walk down Decatur Street. Besides the original Cafe Gift Shop at number 800, you can find their goods in Grandad’s General Store at number 813, and Uncle Wilbur’s Emporium at number 1039.
So when you leave our Garden District area inn after a great night’s rest in an inviting room and tasty continental breakfast fare, and you find yourself in the need for a pick-me-up, stop on by to any Cafe Du Monde location for Beignets and fab Coffee. It will surely give you the energy you need until your next meal… or your next cup!