Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Beignet

We're heading to New Orleans today to a party with my girlfriend's relatives and later to see an old friend of mine from my undergraduate days.

Hopefully while we're there we'll stop in at Café du Monde for some beignets and café au lait. What is a beignet (pronounced "ben-yay") you ask?

They're basically fried hunks of dough, somewhat like a donut, somewhat like a sopapilla. And they're loaded with a generous pile of powdered sugar.

If you've never had one, you're just letting the best in life pass you by.

What's strange it that they really tend to be a very local phenomenon. I live in Lafayette, which is not far from New Orleans. But while there are plenty of donut shops here, there isn't a single place devoted to beignets. There are a couple of places in town where you can get them, but they're just not the same as the ones in New Orleans, and they're just not popular here.

Anyway, if you do ever get a chance to eat some, here's a simple word of advice: While eating a beignet, do not breathe through your nose. If you're breathing in as you lift it to your nose, you will get a snoot full of powdered sugar. If you are breathing out, you will douse your friend in a cloud of powdered sugar. So just hold your breath, take a bite, and enjoy.


Jill said...


1. You're so right about beignets. I first had some in NO, and then found a wonderful place in Houston (for displaced NO people) that sold them.

2. "my girlfriend" - that's great news!

Philip said...

I've still never found good beignets outside of New Orleans either. I can't imagine they're all that hard to make - like you say, just fried dough and powdered sugar. I've had things called beignets, but they're never even close.

And, excellent description of the powdered sugar to nose danger.