Here in the South, food plays a major part in the understanding of a season. To know it's truly Christmas or New Years or even "winter" here, there are certain dishes, and certain food traditions that have to take place. As a Marylander in New Orleans, there are a few weather related issues that I've encountered in celebrating the holidays. I've had to turn down the air conditioning in my house to justify baking a boat load of my family's traditional Christmas cookies on an 80 degree December day. I've shivered through popping ice cold champagne bottles in my poorly insulated shotgun house and also stubbornly drank eggnog in the humidity. No matter the *hardships,* I've truly loved continuing my family's culinary traditions while enjoying the slightly different but delicious holiday foods of New Orleans.
If you're visiting New Orleans for the holidays, getting a little bored being cooped up in your house with your family, or just excited about learning new things about food, know that you can always visit the Southern Food & Beverage Museum! We've got great cooking classes for lunch on Mondays and Thursdays, interesting demonstrations on the weekends, and tons of exhibits to keep you entertained.
The bars and restaurants of New Orleans are always ready to serve you a perfect cocktail, but to have a truly magical experience around the holidays, be sure to check out the Roosevelt Hotel. The lobby is decorated to the nines until January 1st and the Sazerac Bar is right in the middle of it all. Drink a Sazerac, and enjoy. Some other holiday drinks to seek out while in town: a Brandy Milk Punch, frozen Irish Coffee for the warm days, and hot buttered rums for the cold ones.
Be sure to eat plenty of Satsumas and other Louisiana citrus while you're down here. The citrus industry isn't large enough to sell much out of state, but what's available here is delicious. Citrus is popular throughout the South in the winter, and there's nothing more satisfying than seeing Meyer lemons or kumquats ripen in your backyard. We're able to get pretty creative with the fruits, making Library Meyer Lemon Curd (like our librarian Cindy did with SoFAB's Meyer lemons!) or liqueurs to brighten up our cocktails.
Finally, we're all excited down here because 2018 marks the tricentennial of the city of New Orleans, as well as the 10 year anniversary of the opening of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum! The New Year's Eve celebrations promise to be especially amazing this year, with a cool Fleur-de-Lis dropping from Jax Brewery and enough fireworks to properly bring us into the year of celebrations. And as soon as that wraps up, we're onto 12th night, King Cakes, and Mardi Gras! There's always something amazing happening in New Orleans, and you can be sure that there's also something delicious to go along with it. Happy holidays!