Wondering what the best food souvenirs from New Orleans are? It can be hard to choose in a city filled with delicious treats and mouth-watering dishes.
Traveling to New Orleans to eat, drink, and immerse myself in the vibe is a favorite pastime of mine. There is just too much good food and never enough time or belly space.
Grabbing some edible memories to take back home is a high priority.
I’ve made a list of some of my favorites and the great little shops you can find them in.
Don’t pass up the chance to pop into a regular grocery store to buy things and experience a little local culture as well.
Here are some classic food gifts from New Orleans that you will want to return with.
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Beignets and Coffee
New Orleans beignets are likely the most eaten iconic food in the city. You must try them at Cafe Du Monde located at the edge of Jackson Square.
As part of the French Market, Cafe Du Monde has been serving chicory coffee and beignets in the French Quarter since 1862.
Fried square doughnuts hidden under a pile of confectioners sugar. They offer a frozen coffee as well as hot which I find amazing in the hot Louisiana sun.
If the line looks intimidatingly long just walk away and stop by later. They are open 24 hours a day so it will ebb and flow.
Feel free to continue your beignet quest as the rest of the city offers many creative and sweet variations.
Be warned, they are delicious as they are messy so it may be wise to seek out some less powdery to travel home with. With that said, for me every departure morning from New Orleans results with a trip to Cafe Du Monde and a to go bag for home.
WHERE TO BUY BEIGNETS IN NEW ORLEANS
Something to consider is Cafe Beignet also offers a full menu of food, where Cafe Du Monde is limited.
WHERE TO BUY CHICORY COFFEE IN NEW ORLEANS
You can get this earthy tasting coffee at Cafe Du Monde near Jackson Square or one of their satellite locations around the city. Those locations include the mall and the airport so they obviously won’t have the same ambience.
You can however buy a yellow can of roasted grounds to take home at any location so that is convenient.
NOT IN NEW ORLEANS BUT WANT BEIGNETS AND CHICORY COFFEE?
Refill your ground chicory coffee supply until your next visit to Cafe Du Monde.
Cajun Spice Mixes
Flavorful and distinctive Cajun spices are an essential part of Louisiana’s cuisine. Introduced to the area by the Acadians, French Canadians who migrated to the southern United States.
Cajun spices have the perfect kick of heat, making it delicious to add to any creamy pasta, steak, or shrimp.
A packing tip for peppery spices such as Cajun or Creole is to place them in your checked luggage.
I have known friends to be stopped by security when it’s gone through in their carry-on. TSA will look at your yummy Cajun spice as a potential weapon on board an airplane. Think pepper spray, and it makes sense.
WHERE TO BUY CAJUN SPICES IN NEW ORLEANS
One thing New Orleans has is no shortage of gift stores selling local spices.
If you are down at Jackson Square, pop in to the New Orleans Cajun Store at St. Ann Street.
They have a huge variety of spices and food souvenirs from New Orleans all in one spot. Cajun and Creole spices make great gifts for family and friends near and far.
You’ll even have the chance to taste some of them if you like.
Keep your eyes open for Zapp’s Cajun Crawdad’s Chips while you’re shopping. A unique, crunchy treat to bring home that would make a great food souvenir from New Orleans.
NOT IN NEW ORLEANS BUT WANT CAJUN SPICES?
Try some of these iconic Cajun spice brands. They are widely accepted as some of the best by locals. Click on each one to have them shipped directly to your home.
Zatarain’s– Cajun and Creole seasonings
Chef Paul Prudhomme– No Preservatives, MSG-Free and Gluten-Free
Tony Chachere’s – for Creole seasoning try Tony’s Original blend
Can I make my own Cajun Spice mix?
Anyone can easily make Cajun Spice at home with common ingredients. Here is the list:
- 2 tablespoons celery salt
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
You can tweak the amounts any way you wish (I like more garlic). New Orleans’ Chef John Besh also adds Allspice to his recipe. Adjust the cayenne pepper to change the heat level of your mix.
Pralines are a Southern creamy chocolate treat filled with pecans.
The first praline recipes were thought to be brought to Louisiana by French colonists. During the 1800’s African American women transformed those recipes into the sweet pecan filled treats we know today.
Depending on which New Orleans hotel you stay in, you may even find one waiting for you on your pillow.
WHERE TO BUY PRALINES IN NEW ORLEANS
Southern Candy Makers– offers handcrafted and melt in your mouth pralines and candies. You can watch them make the pralines right in the store.
Many of their treats are packaged and ready to go for easy travel. Located on Decatur street about halfway between Jackson Square and Canal St.
Aunt Sally’s – high quality ingredients in a charming atmosphere. You will find plenty of creole praline options at Aunt Sally’s.
Aunt Sally’s is located not far from Magazine St. and just two blocks from The National WWII Museum and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, making it a convenient stop.
There is a shop located across from Cafe Du Monde as well.
Loretta’s Authentic Pralines– French Market
Head over to Loretta’s for pralines to take home but don’t stop there. Plan to eat lunch and indulge in their crawfish stuffed beignets and sweet potato cookies.
Loretta’s is special not only because of its delicious food but also because of its historical significance.
African American women created the Creole Praline during the 1800’s as we know it today. During that time period and into the early 1900’s were street vendors of the delicious treats. In 1983 Loretta Harrison became the first black woman to open up a praline shop in New Orleans.
Walk under the shaded roof of the French Market on your way to the New Orleans Jazz Museum or Frenchman Street to eat at Lorettas.
There is also a cafe location with a larger lunch menu on North Rampart. The days are limited, only being open Thursday – Saturday.
Leah’s Pralines– St. Louis Street
Women owned and operating in the same location for over 75 years. Everything is handcrafted with natural ingredients.
Leah’s creates fresh pralines, brittles, and Creole pecan candies. They are open Thursday to Monday.
NOT IN NEW ORLEANS BUT WANT PRALINES?
Need some Aunt Sally’s Creole Pralines now? Have them sent straight to your house.
Or visit Loretta’s Pralines online shop for direct shipping.
As a true hot sauce lover you may be interested in a day trip to Avery Island to visit and tour the Tabasco Factory and Museum. It’s just over a 2 hour drive from New Orleans and includes a nature preserve tour as well.
Learn about the history of Tabasco sauce. Eat cajun food at the onsite restaurant and even try some tabasco ice cream.
A local New Orleans hot sauce brand that comes highly recommended by locals is Crystal.
Use it in your next wing recipe or remoulade. If it’s good enough for Commander’s Palace Bloody Marys, then it’s good enough for me.
WHERE TO BUY HOT SAUCE IN NEW ORLEANS
You will find endless fun and quirky named hot sauces all over the French Quarter and beyond. Here are a few places with a lot of variety. Many will come with variety packs. These liquid food souvenirs from New Orleans will need to be packed in a checked bag.
C’est Bon New Orleans – Formerly The Tabasco Country Store on St. Ann’s in Jackson Square. Still carries the Tabasco products.
Hot Bites on Canal St.
Magnolia Sugar & Spice Praline Kitchen & Hot Sauce Bar on Royal St.
NOT IN NEW ORLEANS BUT WANT LOUISIANA HOT SAUCE?
Try these popular brands:
Gumbo is an iconic Louisiana stew served over rice that is hearty and satisfying. Do not deprive yourself of a cup or bowl when visiting New Orleans.
Typically Cajun gumbo will be darker (due to the roux), spicier, and meat based.
Creole gumbo will be lighter containing okra and seafood.
Gumbos vary the way chili and BBQ do in the South. Everyone has their own variations, family recipe, and favorites. It just means you’ll have to try alot of them so you can go back home to make your own best version.
WHERE TO BUY GUMBO MIX IN NEW ORLEANS
Creole Delicacies Kitchen Shop– on St. Ann at Jackson Square
You can get packets of spice mixes for making Gumbo at home. You’ll also find spice mixes for Jambalaya, red beans, King Cake mix, and Hurricane cocktail mixes. All of which make great food souvenirs from New Orleans.
NOT IN NEW ORLEANS BUT WANT GUMBO?
Zatarain’s Gumbo Mix– Just add your own andouille sausage, chicken, okra, or shrimp.
A Muffuletta sandwich always tops my list of must eat when in New Orleans. The briny olive tapenade on top of Italian sliced meats are delicious.
We usually get one to share as they will typically be served on a large crusty roll cut into quarters and are way more than one person can eat. It is the perfect lunch to grab to eat on the plane on the way home.
A jar of the unique olive tapenade makes a perfect food souvenir from New Orleans.
WHERE TO BUY MUFFULETTA IN NEW ORLEANS
You must stop at Central Grocery located on Decatur St. to try this tremendously popular sandwich. They lay claim to the original Muffuletta in the French Quarter.
I have tried other spots around town, but it’s just never as good for me. I love Central Grocery the best.
As of August 2023 the location is temporarily closed. During Hurricane Ida, a large section of a brick wall came crashing into the roof of Central Grocery causing extensive damage. The shop is still under reconstruction but hoping to reopen soon.
Meanwhile they are still making their yummy sandwiches which are available to buy at the following locations:
- Zuppardo’s Family Market in Metairie
- Sidney’s Wine Cellar – next door to Central Grocery
- Acquistapace’s in both the Mandeville and Covington locations
- Rouses Market at 701 Baronne Street in New Orleans
- Norco Fresh Market in Norco
- Moisant Market in the New Orleans airport
You can buy their jarred Olive Salad next door at Sidney’s Wine Cellar.
Keep updated on their progress here at the Central Grocery & Deli website. When the day comes for the doors to reopen, the lines will undoubtedly be long.
NOT IN NEW ORLEANS BUT WANT MUFFULETTA?
Shop here to get the Central Grocery Olive Salad shipped directly to your house.
Enjoy this video of the making of a Central Grocery Muffuletta Sandwich:
New Orleans cookbooks make for excellent food-related souvenirs.
For a food loving community such as Crescent City, preserving the traditional recipes is important.
WHERE TO BUY LOCAL COOKBOOKS IN NEW ORLEANS
Octavia’s Books locate on Octavia St. and the corner of Laurel
The New Orleans School of Cooking General Store– St. Louis St.
Cookbooks plus a whole lot more. Perfect place to shop for all things culinary in New Orleans.
For an unforgettable New Orleans food experience, observe or participate in one of their highly rated cooking classes. Check out the details below.
NOT IN NEW ORLEANS BUT WANT COOKBOOKS ABOUT LOUISIANA?
Classic favorite dishes of NOLA
Authentic Creole recipes
Create dishes from all your favorite NOLA festivals: The French Market Creole Tomato Festival, Bastille Day Fête, and the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival just to name a few.
Don’t return home without bringing some of the delicious flavors of Louisiana back with you. Food souvenirs from New Orleans are a must when visiting this unforgettable culinary city.
Need a place to stay in New Orleans?
Nunez, Chanda M. “Praline or ‘Pecan Candy’ – Stop 2 of 7 in the French Quarter Street Food Tour.” New Orleans Historical, https://neworleanshistorical.org/items/show/259. Accessed 6 Aug. 2023.