Mardi Gras, French for “Fat Tuesday”, is the legendary hedonistic blow-out before the Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday. But in New Orleans, Mardi Gras is more than just one day. For at least two weeks prior to Fat Tuesday itself, the city bursts with joyous activity. Numerous krewes, or private social clubs, parade through the city with wanton exuberance. Beads, toys, shoes, and who knows what else get thrown from the floats, which are typically decorated with lots of purple, green, and gold -- the official colors of Mardi Gras. Purple represents Justice; green represents Faith; gold represents Power.
For those of us who can’t make it to the Crescent City, here is a classic Mardi Gras menu with some wine suggestions for your party. Put “Trombone Shorty” and other New Orleans classics on your playlist, and have white handkerchiefs and umbrellas handy if you plan on your own version of a second line. If you cannot find a local bakery that makes a king cake (a few New Orleans bakeries do ship), you can always bake one. Either way, don’t forget the baby!
Red beans and rice
Fried pork chops
Hot French bread with butter
And for dessert… a king cake.
Because this is a celebration, you will need plenty of bubbly! The Roederer Estate Brut will work nicely both as a paring for the deviled eggs and for general celebratory sipping.
For the red beans and rice, you want something with good fruit and a touch of sweetness to complement the trademark spiciness of this dish. The 2019 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier is up to the task.
Pinot Noir is a delightfully versatile food wine that will work well with this meal, in particular with the pork chops and even the jambalaya. Two terrific wine options for Mardi Gras include WillaKenzie Estate 2016 and the Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2018.
Food, drink, community and fun -- that’s what Mardi Gras is all about. Laissez le bon temps rouler!
MARDI GRAS RECIPES:
- click images to download PDF recipe cards