The culinary landscape in New Orleans is as diverse as the city itself, brimming with James Beard semifinalists at glamorous restaurants, portable vittles for an on-the-go day, and cheap, insanely tasty finds. In all these cases, though, the food disappears before our eyes. We marvel at a meal when presented to us, then proceed to eat it voraciously (barbarically if it’s particularly good) until nothing remains. Food is but a fond memory.
That’s where the Southern Food and Beverage Museum has stepped in.
SoFaB pays homage in a lasting way to culinary traditions of the South. You won’t find any preserved hamburgers here; the museum is a living history organization that examines the food and drink of the South.
As interested in the ethnic backgrounds that have contributed to Southern food (Afro-Caribbean, French, German, to name a few) as it is in the home cooks who have passed down recipes that span generations, SoFaB recognizes that food tells the story of the South in piquant detail.
Navigate SoFaB like a culinary connoisseur on your next visit.
Start with a strong drink: absinthe. La Galerie d’Absinthe is one of the museum’s more taboo exhibits, exploring the history of this once-forbidden drink. Even though it’s legal again, the drink (also called “the green fairy”) has retained its mystique.
Food Photography 101
Sure, we’ve all styled a food shot for Instagram, but true food photography requires a knack for lighting and supreme attention to detail. Photographer and food stylist Sam Hanna’s works are on display at SoFaB, leaving visitors with Pavlovian drool upon digesting – visually, anyway – his photographs.
Did you know Antoine’s is the oldest family-owned, continuously operating business in the United States? This revered Southern restaurant is the focus of another exhibit at SoFaB, titled 175 Years of Antoine’s. With 175 years’ worth of stories – they invented Oysters Rockefeller and the word “appetizer” – Antoine’s is a fitting subject for this historical exhibit on display through June.
Have Your Cake, but Please Don’t Eat It
Among the museum’s permanent displays is the Kuyper Cake collection, showcasing the art of cake decorating. From hand-molded fondant toppers to delicate airbrushing, the specimen cakes feature methods and artistry from bakers around the world.