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Food & Drink

Making Groceries: Local NOLA Products to Pick Up

New Orleans and Louisiana grocery staples offer fun and affordable ways to add that NOLA flavor to your meals.

Plenty of local love from A to Z(atarain's). (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

Borrowing from the French who “faire le marché,” in New Orleans, we “make” groceries. Most people here go to several stores to complete their shopping list, loving something particular from one store or another — it’s just the way things are done. As a place with its own unique flavor and cuisine, Louisiana has beaucoup (said: “boo-coo”) products to help everyone cook, eat, and drink like a native.

Grab a basket, re-usable grocery bag, or just pile your arms full with foodstuffs from local grocers like Breaux Mart, Langenstein’s, Zappardo’s, and Rouses, et. al; corner stores (think Verti Mart); gourmet markets (St. Roch Market, St. James Cheese Co.); farmers markets like Hollygrove and Crescent City Farmers Market; or hybrid market-grocery (Dryades Public Market, Poeyfarre Market, etc.), for all that’s deliciously Louisiana.

The deliciously appointed Dryades Public Market. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

MakinG Groceries: Beloved NOLA Foodstuffs (and where to find them)

World-famous Cafe du Monde offers a variety of products, from beignet mix to chicory-laced coffee. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

Box Mixes

So many brands, so many choices – from Dirty Rice to Jambalaya, Red Beans, Chili, Gumbo, Beignets and King cake.


Flour and fat defines roux, but it’s all in the cooking – low fire and constant stirring — for blonde, peanut butter or dark, chocolate-colored roux and all have different applications. Or, skip the tutorials and go right to the roux.

Pralines and Candies

Is it dessert or just a snack? Decide by trying them all.

Trays of piping-hot pralines from Aunt Sally’s. (Photo: Paul Broussard)
  • Pick up Aunt Sally’s pralines at grocery stores throughout the city — or order them online for a taste of New Orleans no matter where you live. Choose the original Creole pralines or opt for creamy, chewy, chocolate, Bananas Foster, and café au lait varieties.
  • Satisfy a sweet tooth with packaged pralines from Southern Candymakers (note: they’re one of the few who make their pralines without corn syrup for those with food allergies).
  • Try the silky goat milk “cajeta” (caramel sauce) from WesMar Farms.
  • Don’t miss the big-as-your-head chocolate and caramel-covered apples by Lolli’s Chocolates. Lolli’s caramels are also creamy dreamy.

Hot Sauces

We got hot sauce in our bag. Swag.

Crystal hot sauce spices up any dish. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

Cocktail Matters

From powdered mixes for famous drinks to local spirits and bitters, chic cocktail components that also have culinary applications are weighing down store shelves.

Peychaud’s and Sazerac Rye along with Herbsaint: all three are New Orleans-based. (Photo via Peychaud’s on Facebook)

Beans and Rice

Recreating scratch-made red beans and rice anyplace outside Louisiana is a Herculean task. Some suggest the magic is in the water. Fear not, making any day Monday in New Orleans can be done with the right ingredients.

Make red beans and rice using a simple recipe — or cheat with creamy, perfectly seasoned Blue Runner Beans. (Photo: Maura McEvoy courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing)
Local roasters French Truck Coffee have availability in grocers across the city. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)


While the current trend for single origin, light-roasted coffee can be found here, the flavor profile for Louisiana coffee is hot, strong, super-dark, and yes, with chicory.

Chef Paul Prudhomme’s “Magic” seasoning. (Photo via Magic Seasoning Blends on Facebook)

Spices and Seasonings

Yet another category that is jam-packed with options to spice up life — and a dish.

Chips and Snacks

Without bias (*wink) Louisiana excels in this category.

  • Elmer’s Chee Wees are the cheese curl addict mothership.
  • Zapp’s potato chips are dark-fried, curled, kettle-style chips of dreams. In flavors that span from the norm (regular) to the wild (Drago’s Charbroiled Oyster-inspired) with splashes of Creole (Tomato) and Cajun (Crawtators), the bonus is that Zapp’s are gluten free.
  • Hola Nola corn chips and tortillas are great.
  • Love, Cookie (from the Baker Maid folks) have big fans – one local editor/writer (ahem, Sara Watson) can’t be trusted around a bag of the Dark Chocolate Orange flavor.
Zapp’s and Chee Wees: the perfect pair. (Photo via Elmer’s Chee Wees on Facebook)


New Orleans is known also for breads: this, too, is a category filled with options.

Bellegarde bread at St. James Cheese Co. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)
  • Of course, poor boy/po-boy (not getting into that argument, thank you) bread, the local French bread, is a must. Easy finds include loaves of Leidenheimer, Alois J Binder, John Gendusa, and Reising’s.
  • Many stores also stash round, sesame seed-topped muffuletta loaves.
  • Other bakeries of note with some representation at the grocery stores are WildFlour (from chef Susan Spicer), Gracious Bakery, and Bellegarde Bakery.
  • Unfortunately, those thin-crusted, Vietnamese-style French bread pistolettes have not yet found their way to easy-to-get-to stores.
Poirier’s cane syrup. (Photo via Poirier’s on Facebook)

Sticky Sweets

Finishing on a sweet note.

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