Mardi Gras might be headquartered in New Orleans, but whether you are in the Big Easy or celebrating from afar, these are the Mardi Gras essential traditions and innovations to this year.
Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday and time to jump on your last chance to celebrate in 2019. Just remember to keep it PC.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. You can Spin the old King Cake Tradition
The king cake tradition is a very old one. That baby little plastic baby inside symbolizes the baby Jesus. You’re sure to find them on tables throughout the festival season, which ends with Fat Tuesday. Lent starts with Ash Wednesday the very next day, so whether its cake or another vice you’re working to set aside for the Lent season, the idea is to indulge a little before the period of fast.
“The pastry goes by different names around the world, and comes in varying shapes and styles,” reports Eater. And for 2019, several bakeries are offering variations on the New Orleans king cake. According to Nola.com, bakers are trying everything from praline king cake and a muffuletta to flavors like strawberry apple cinnamon and apple cinnamon pecan, in addition to the tried-and-true traditional king cake.
Find a unique 2019 king cake including carnival-only specials.
2. You Should Drink Beyond Daiquiris
Wine bars are plentiful, and Krewe of Cork world-famously gathers around wine. It’s too late to join this year, but you can start meeting people now to find your krewe for 2020. Like other krewes, Krewe (pronounced crew) of Cork charges yearly dues for someone to become a member and participate in their Mardi Gras festivities.
Cocktails are still king, with carival punch recipe from Katy Casbarian, co-owner of Arnaud’s Restaurant and the French 75 Bar, as a worthwhile home bar libation for 2019, according to Garden & Gun. The possibilities go on and on, and there’s zero reasons to need to be in NOLA to experiment with Mardi Gras cocktails.
Some New Orleans restaurants are closed to allow staff to enjoy the festivities, but Eater NOLA has compiled a guide to downtown Fat Tuesday openings. If you can’t make it to NOLA, there’s a lot to cook at home.
If you’re around long enough, the buzz around Molly’s Rise and Shine and Turkey and the Wolf is more than hype and well worth waiting for the staff holiday. Mason Hereford opened Molly’s as a breakfast joint following the success of Turkey and the Wolf, and is the most fun person in southern food right now. Molly’s serves breakfast on cafeteria trays and is heavy on theme, but the unusual concoctions are worth the hipster branding so intentional as to qualify as ironic.
4. Plan to Parade
Mardi Gras World is a year-round destination unto itself. A working Mardi Gras workshop open to the public, Mardi Gras World was created in 1984 as a tourist attraction to provide visitors a behind-the-scenes look of the work of Kern Studios begun by Roy and Blaine Kern, who built their first Mardi Gras float in 1934.
New this year, Krewe de Mayahuel is a parading krewe to celebrate Mexican immigrants.
5. Remember Mardi Gras is for Everyone, Everywhere
Family Gras offers an alternative Mardi Gras experience in advance of Fat Tuesday celebrations. Bourbon themed packages and cookery courses are some of the ways to shape your own Mardi Gras tradition.
Most parade coverage is local, but you can watch NOLA.com’s round-the-clock coverage of live video feeds from the French Quarter, Canal Street, and other areas.
Stuck in the office? Bring your co-workers some Mardi Gras throws to get in the spirit. Krewes have their signature trinkets, so come up with your own.