Laissez les bons temps rouler!
New Orleans, NOLA, Crescent City, The Big Easy – whatever you like to call it, it was our spring break destination this year. Kelly (my daughter), Brian (her husband), Kyle (my grandson), Hannah (granddaughter), and I drove from Dallas past Nachodges, Texas, the Atchafalaya River, and Lake Pontchartrain. (I threw that in because those are some of my most favorite words!!) We made Saturday night on Bourbon Street our first New Orleans stop. Brian was hustled immediately by a guy selling those ubiquitous green, gold, and purple beads. It was an eye-opener for the grands. Bienvenue `a Bourbon Street! We found a cozy spot for dinner with live jazz music, as requested by Kyle, my brainy grandson who is now into classical and jazz. A guy at the next table gave Hannah some beads so that made up for the bum hustler on the street. After dinner, we hopped on a street car with an interesting assortment of other people. My only unfulfilled hope from this trip was to see a street car named Desire, I’m pretty sure I could have visioned Marlon Brando shouting “Stella!” But we were on St. Charles street so that’s what our car was named. We went back to our hotel and called it a night. I had already mapped out the chocolate shop locations to visit tomorrow.
I was most looking forward to visiting Southern Candymakers’ French Quarter location. The manager, Chuck Williams, and I had traded emails before I left Dallas. The shop was easy to find in the French Quarter. I love that first scent of a chocolate shop and this one was divine. When I stepped inside, I closed my eyes for a minute and let the seductive aroma of sweetness waft over me like a satin sheet. Oh, New Orleans, what are you doing to me? On one side of the shop fresh pralines were being stirred and creamy, gooey toffee on the other. The chocolate kitchen was also in sight; they were hand-decorating chocolate frogs and alligators. So, you can be sure you are buying fresh, handmade confections in this place.
I talked to the ladies behind the counter for a few minutes; they could not have been nicer – even before they knew I’m the Chocolate Shop Gypsy. Then Chuck came out of his office and wow, what a great guy. He’s one of those people that make you feel you’ve known him forever. He was full of smiles and fun. He gave me the 20 year history of the company and pointed out the various awards they had posted on the wall. He suggested pralines and tortues (French word for turtles) for sampling. And there began my New Orleans sugar high.
He mentioned their pralines were named WINNER: Best Candy Award, Atlanta Gourmet Show. He showed me the Voodoo confection, described on their website “as dark and exotic as its namesake; a thick and sumptuous layer of soft handmade caramel poured onto a bed of rich dark chocolate and graham crackers, topped with a pillowy, handmade marshmallow, then draped with another layer of dark chocolate; finished with a white rain of chocolate and toasted coconut; this Voodoo is gris-gris (amulet for good luck) for the soul;
tuck some in your casket for the afterlife.” Soooo New Orleans!
I bought some things and then needed to escape the temptation of a chocolate overdose, so we gathered for a group photo before I left. Chuck came running to jump in the pic. I just love him and you will, too, when you get a chance to visit. Please tell him the Chocolate Shop Gypsy sent you!
We spent some time shopping in the French Quarter – voodoo dolls, New Orleans Christmas ornament for my collection, and a cool Mardi Gras mask. Miss Hannah had her own money so went to town buying everything in sight. She wanted a voodoo doll that came with pins to stick in it. I asked her to only use the white pin and evoke good things, like easing my aching feet. We met Kyle and Brian as planned and sat down to start sampling. The pralines were delicious; all 7 flavors. Of course, the chocolate one was of special interest. If you are a fan of pralines, I can recommend them without hesitation. Then, we moved on to the dark chocolate tortues. Oh, yum! Whoever created turtles in the first place had to be a genius; the combination of smooth dark chocolate, silky caramel, and Southern pecans is one of my favorites.
We walked, shopped, and ate as long as we could. Before calling it a day, I decided Sucré would be tomorrow’s chocolate shop destination. Please check back and read about it: New Orleans – Part 2.
334 Decatur Street
New Orleans, LA 70130