How to be King of King Cake this Mardi Gras Season!
It’s January, so … ‘tis the season in Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou. Carnival season, that is! This year, Mardi Gras is on Tuesday, February 21. Though the big day is still a few weeks away, festivities are already in full swing. One of the best ways to get into the spirit is by indulging in a seasonal treat.
To everyone up and down the Bayou, king cakes are an integral part of Mardi Gras. This colorful confection is the iconic culinary symbol of the Carnival season … with good reason!
Named for the three kings (or wise men) who brought gifts to baby Jesus, the king cake tradition is thought to be brought to Louisiana from France in the 19th century. The cinnamon pastry ring is commonly topped with white icing and decked out in three different colored sugars: purple, which symbolizes justice; gold, which represents power; and green for faith. Watch that dental work, because the cakes come with a plastic baby tucked somewhere in them. The “winner” – whoever gets the baby in their piece – is responsible for providing the next king cake!
Though some bakers sell the beloved cakes year-round (adjusting flavors and colors for the various holidays), consumption skyrockets during Carnival season. Here are some places up and down Bayou Lafourche where you can find a tasty king cake:
Ninette’s Cake Shop
1050 S. Acadia Road, Thibodaux, LA 70301
The Willow Café
713 West Third Street, Thibodaux, LA 70301
1878 LA-3185, Thibodaux, LA, 70301
Note: Not your typical King Cake - Enjoy their King Cake Ale!
18134 W Main St, Cut Off, LA, 70354
Cajun Pecan House
14808 W. Main Street, Cut Off, LA 70345
Note: They ship nationwide!
If you’ve worked your way through all the bakeries and still can’t get enough of this sugary Mardi Gras dessert, you’ll want to mark your calendar for the first-ever Bayou King Cake Festival, which will be held in downtown Thibodaux on Saturday, February 4. Attendees can sample king cakes baked by local bakeries, restaurants and even home cooks and vote for their favorite. The event will give you plenty of opportunities to scout out who makes the best on the Bayou … and map your route to their store, or figure out how to get invited to their home for a great party! It’s never too early to plan ahead when king cake is involved.
King cakes are an important part of the culture in Louisiana, especially along Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, because they represent how the traditions of the Acadian French – or Cajun – people have become indelibly linked to life in the state of Louisiana. The cake’s name and back story is deeply rooted in the Cajuns’ Catholic faith, but the simple act of enjoying a piece of cake is something everyone can do. The fact that cakes can be shipped to friends and family all around the country ensures that Mardi Gras joy isn’t limited to Louisiana … though the cake sure does seem to taste better when you eat it here!
We hope your Mardi Gras is as amazing as a slab of king cake!