Mar 4, 2014

Getting ‘Gras’ in Mardi Gras

With Spring Break and St. Patty’s Day happening this month, you could say that March is a month of madness, festivities, and overall, a good time.

One might even ask ‘How can it possibly get better?!’

Oh it does: Enter Mardi Gras.

The translation of this word is ‘Fat Tuesday.' Quite literally, that is what the day is about. Traditionally, this carnival season was an opportunity for Catholics to indulge on all goodies they would be barred from enjoying during Lent. The practice eventually made its way beyond the Catholic Church. It’s now one of the most anticipated festivals around the world.

While New Orleans is notorious for celebrating Mardi Gras, these countries put up a pretty good fight. Especially when it comes to the ‘Gras’ part of the holiday! Here are some traditional Mardi Gras foods found around the globe.

...Or what I call, the precursor to diabetes!

Cinnamon Palmiers

Cinnamon Palmiers

Cinnamon Palmiers, Canada
These delectable little cookies are popular in Quebec’s Winter Carnival. While this traditional event happens long before Mardi Gras, I’d like to think we Canadians just want to celebrate things early! It’s not quite a puff pastry, not quite a cookie. These sweet and light cookie-pastries are so feathery, you can easily scarf down a good dozen.


Blini with Sour Cream and Caviar

Blini with Sour Cream & Caviar, Russia
The Russian festival of Maslenitsa (occurring the last week before Lent), entails the consumption of this crepe-like dish, filled with rich sour cream and red caviar. Of course, no Maslenitsa is complete, unless a little *cough* a lot of liquor is involved. So naturally, this dish is accompanied by an overflowing amount of vodka!


Moon Pies

Moon Pies, Mobile Alabama
These puffy pastries were first used as a parade throw, to replace the deadly (and incredibly pointy) Cracker Jack caramel corn. Now, they’re seen as a Mardi Gras staple in Mobile, which is also claimed as the original home of Mardi Gras.



Semla, Sweden
Served during Shrove Monday and Tuesday (the days preceding the Lenten season), Semla consists of a spiced wheat-bun, filled with a mix of sweetened milk, almond paste, and rich whip cream. In other words, it’s a dinner roll on steroids.

The Packzi, Beignet Twists, and Berliner

The Packzi, Beignet Twists, and Berliner

The Paczki (Poland), Beignet Twists, and Berliners (Germany)
I couldn’t simply find space to feature all of these delectable sweets. But these wouldn’t be the average donuts you’d find at a Tim Hortons. These pastries are rich, fried, and sometimes packed with deliciously yummy filling. They are the holy trinity of donuts.

King Cake

King Cake

King Cake, New Orleans
Mardi Gras, isn’t Mardi Gras unless you procure this traditional sugary confection. The dough itself is subtle, sweet, and lightly spiced with cinnamon. However, it’s bombarded with a sugary assault of purple, green, and yellow sprinkles. If you’re lucky, you might even find a small, plastic king-figurine inside your King Cake, which means a whole year of good luck! Unless you choke on it…then, not so much.

Do you celebrate Mardi Gras? Sound off here!

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Last modified on : Mar 4, 2014
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