I have two words for you when I think about Laura’s Candies – Mississippi Mud!
And I don’t mean the kind we saw lots of when we took the swamp tour. Let me tell you about that first. On our last full day in New Orleans, we got up bright and early and Brian (my son-in-law) drove to Slidell, Louisiana for the swamp and alligator tour. We bundled Miss Hannah (granddaughter and gypsy-in-training) up in a life vest and then she, Kelly (my daughter), Kyle (grandson), Brian, and I boarded the small boat that slowly took us away from the dock into the brown, muddy water of the West Pearl River into the Honey Island Swamp. I felt a small chill run down my back as we left civilization. Grassy banks where alligators sunbathed and large, spooky, Spanish moss-covered trees surrounded us. Our Captain and tour guide was terrific. He gave us lots of information on gators and knew right where to go to see them. He took us down one little fork in the river where a group of wild pigs was swimming. They were so ugly cute, swimming in water that looked like chocolate. We threw marshmallows to them and they were happy pigs in that cool muddy water. On our way back to the landing we saw the perfect gator stretched out on a log; his squinty eyes seemed to follow our boat as we slowly drifted by. My mind wandered to what a beautiful pair of shoes and purse he would make; maybe some spikey-heeled, thigh high boots. Oh, buddy, your lucky day; you’re on that log and I’m in this boat.
We got back to New Orleans in time to visit Laura’s Candies, the oldest candy shop in the city (in business since 1913). Loved this place! Deron greeted us and immediately offered samples. A man after my own heart. The pralines were soft and creamy. An employee/praline artisan was in the corner stirring a fresh batch of them, the South’s most famous confection. Maybe he was using one of their 100 year old copper pots. The aroma wafted over us like a golden, sweet river. Devion showed us the glass bowls filled will samples of all the different flavors. Miss Hannah tried a coconut praline, Kelly a vanilla, and I had a rum. We all agreed; oh yeah, we had to take a variety of these home.
I couldn’t leave without trying a champagne truffle. Divine! You know, I’m on the search for the best champagne truffle. Theirs is definitely a contender. We made our final selections and were just about to pay when Deron told us we had to try the shop’s signature confection – MISSISSIPPI MUD. Somebody help me! I still dream about this stuff! It’s a combination of Louisiana pecans, sensuous chocolate and handmade caramel that trails off into a silky string when you break off a piece. The chocolate was perfect; it passed all my chocolate tasting tests (sight, aroma, touch, sound, and taste). It was the best thing I tasted on the whole trip. The grands loved it and the one pound box never made it home. This is something I will order from their website. We thanked Deron and said, ”á bientot” (see you later – next trip).
Since it was our last night in NOLA, that meant more walking, shopping, and eating in the French Quarter. Our final stop was a fabulous gift and home décor shop. It was on a small side street that was more like an alley. One side of the street was lined with tarot card readers who had set up their tables and chairs and looked out at all the tourists passing by. They had small lamps or candles on their tables that cast soft shadows; some were in costume. In the New Orleans night air, they appeared a bit mystical to me. Kelly helped me choose a guy to ask for a reading. We chose him mostly because he was not smoking. Turned out he was terrible; I kept waiting for him to tell me there is a tall, dark, and handsome man in my future. …. Still waiting.
But no worries, back in our hotel, Hannah, Kyle, and I were quite happy lying on our big bed eating dark chocolates as we relaxed. We finished off the Mississippi Mud.
Sweet dreams, New Orleans. See you later, alligator.