Pralines, New Orleans
Pralines are delightful little confections made with carmelized sugar, butter and lots and lots of pecans. They come in about the size of a silver dollar pancake, but are somewhat thin and easily broken. There are delicious!! There are several makers of pralines, but it seems that Aunt Sally's is probably the most well known.
Aunt Sally's has a nice shop right next to the Cafe Du Monde and in the French Market area. They have lots of samples available for you to try.
What to buy: Of course, the main item here is Aunt Sally's Original Creole Pralines which you can purchase individually or by the box (each one individually packaged) and these make great gifts or just to bring home and enjoy after your trip is over! They're not inexpensive but they are so good.
The store has lots of other nice items which you might like such as New Orleans cookbooks, hot sauces, lots of things to do with the kitchen, gifts, postcards, Cafe Du Monde gift packages, CD's with zydeco, New Orleans jazz, and Preservation Hall music, and even Mardi Gras fixin's and decorations, and more than I can mention here. Aunt Sally's has a good website and many items can be ordered online and shipped directly to you.
What to pay: Pralines range from about $1.25 each to $15 for a good size box. Other items range from a few dollars and up.
One of the small pleasures I allow myself, generally towards the end of a trip, is choosing some kind of treat for the office staff. Since I wound up in NOLA on my May jaunt, the only real question in my mind was which one of the several purveyors of pralines I'd select...and that, of course, required hands-on research. Fortunately, most of those purveyors offer you a taste of this or that. Spaced out, with plenty of walking and gawking in between, those sugar fixes were a perfect antidote to the sagging feeling which sometimes besets the avid tourist.
Frankly, I'd bring the chocolates, which I like much better, but it was so hot that I was afraid they'd melt. Pralines have staying power.
Evans is located on Decatur Street, right next to the fountain. It's small, exceptionally tidy, and appealing in both decor and aroma. They make chocolates and fudges as well as the pralines; I would have liked to see some divinity in the mix, but it was not to be.
What to pay: An assortment of ten pralines (regular, maple, chocolate and coconut, I think) were $20.00.
What to buy:
Leah's sells different kinds of homemade Creole candies and gourmet chocolates like heavenly hash, a sort of Southern rocky road made with chocolate, pecans, and marshmallows. I love their pralines, which are made of butter, sugar, and pecans, and are made fresh daily.
They have two kinds of pralines: Creamy and Traditional, but I prefer the Traditional, which are more brittle and sugary. . .and totally addictive.
What to pay: A box of a dozen individually wrapped, CD-sized pralines costs $24.50. They make good gifts to bring home, because you can give each person one or two pralines.
If you can't wait for your next trip to New Orleans, you can buy them online through Leah's website.
While you can find everything at Aunt Sally's from hot sauces to cookbooks to a wide range New Orleans-themed merchandise, it's all about the pralines. A New Orleans institution since the 1930's, this grande dame of candy stores was established by an enterprising couple of French Creole descent and were originally marketed in the Quarter by horse and buggy. That these pralines are still around three-quarters of a century later (and shipping all over the world) might give you an idea of how good these buttery, teeth-achingly sweet little devils are. They come in either traditional or chocolate and the Decatur Street store has generous samples to help you make up your mind.
You can buy these by the box, tin or individually and they are a perfect, inexpensive little taste of NOLA to bring home to your house-sitter, family members, work group or friends. Individual pralines cost a mere couple of dollars and come in their own little box. I found several "buy one, get one free" coupons in local tourism mags (one per customer, per purchase) - great bargain if they're still running them.
What to buy: Pralines!
What to pay: Depends on how many - $2-$3 for one to much more for tinned or boxed assortments of varying amounts. See their website for prices and specials.
This was the one thing we bought in the French Market and brought back to the room. I loved these pralines - they were fresh and good. I ate them one at a time at long intervals to make them last as long as possible.
What to buy: LARGE ORIGINAL PRALINES
EACH BOX CONTAINS 12 ORIGINAL PRALINES
14 oz $ 13.95
LARGE ASSORTED PRALINES
EACH BOX CONTAINS 6 ORIGINAL, 2 CREAMY
CHOCOLATE, 2 CREAMY MAPLE AND
2 CREAMY RUM PRALINES
14 oz $ 13.95
SMALL ORIGINAL PRALINETTES
EACH BOX CONTAINS 10 ORIGINAL PRALINETTES
6 oz $ 9.95
EACH BOX CONTAINS OUR FAMOUS
CARAMEL AND PECAN PRALINES
16 oz $ 16.95
WE ALSO HAVE COCONUT AND PEANUT BUTTER PRALINES!
SMALL GIFT BASKET $55.95
EACH BOX CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING:
1 BOX OF SMALL ASSORTED PRALINES
1/2 LB. OF ASSORTED CUCCIA CHOCOLATES
1/2 LB. OF CHEWIE PRALINES
1/2 LB. OF PRALINE PECANS
1 4OZ. CREOLE PECAN LOG
1 8OZ. JAR OF PRALINE SYRUP
LARGE PRALINE TRAY $39.95
EACH TRAY INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:
6 LARGE ORIGINAL PRALINES
6 CREAMY MAPLE PRALINES
6 CREAMY RUM PRALINES
6 CREAMY CHOCOLATE PRALINES
SURROUNDED BY PRALINE PECANS
1 8OZ. OF CUCCIA CHOCOLATE DESSERT COFFEE
(EACH OF THESE ITEMS ARE
ALSO AVAILABLE SEPARATELY)
When I came to New Orleans for the first time I was in 7th grade and ever since then I've loved pralines. I bought some while I was there, and they were excellent. So when I was writing up my tips, I got some more by mail order from the Cafe du Monde website.
These are thinner and seems more grainy and sweeter than other pralines I've had. I don't like them as well as Evan's that I bought while I was there.
This is a souvenir and sweet shop. I was drawn to the plexi glass enclosure where they had this long white marble table and a some sort of boiling liquid in a huge copper pot.
I watched avidly as they added industrial sized portions of ingredients into the pot and noticed that the baker never used a measuring cup or any type of exact measurements. (I also noticed they didn't use gloves...maybe they washed their hands before baking.)
After boiling and adding ingredients, they scooped out dollops of the steaming mixture directly onto the marble table. She layed them out in near perfect rows to cool. In minutes the pralines were cooled and bagged to be ready for packaging.
They pronounced pralines...PRAW-LEENS. Yeah...they sure did!
Hours: 9am - 8pm
What to buy: They have samples of their sweets around their shop and they sell them in pre packaged boxes. My fave is the original.
The sweets were really good and I can certainly understand why anyone would ship them around the world as gifts and treats. They really are delectable...however I feel that the price for these delicious morsels were a bit steep. But, that's what you have to pay for a bit of ecstacy.
I ordered Leah's original pralines based on the online reviews. It arrived promptly. Each praline individually packaged and boxed. Taste like sugar...JUST SUGAR. No one would eat it after the initial bite, not even the kids. Paid $36.80 with shipping. Ended up throwing 11 of 12 pralines (still nicely wrapped) in the garbage. Not recommended!
The quaint little Creole Delicacies dshop on Jackson Square is a great place to buy New Orleans gifts, souvenirs, culinary items and New Orleans' famous and delicious pralines. We got a refrigerator magnet, postcards, and a box of pralines here. Unfortunately, the pralines, a deep south delicacy made of pecans, brown sugar and other good stuff, didn't make it even as far as the New Orleans city limits before they were all consumed.
What to buy: PRALINES: I well remember my very first praline which I had in New Orleans as a young teenager on a trip with my dad and brothers. I thought it was the best thing I had ever eaten up until that point in my life. And they are still very good. However, according to my own subjective assessment, the pralines on River Street in Savannah, Georgia and those at the Old Market in downtown Charleston, South Carolina are the best. Still, if you happen to be in New Orleans, the pralines here are excellent.