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The Premier New Orleans Food Tour: A Culinary Voyage Through New Orleans, LA

New Orleans Food Tour
The Premier New Orleans Food Tour, Naïf Shahady and Gaston

New Orleans is a city of vibrant culture, soulful music, and most notably, a confluence of incredible flavors. The city's history is as rich as its cuisine, a tapestry woven from French, Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences. Join us on this unforgettable journey, as we dive into the delicious realms of New Orleans' culinary and historical treasures.

Get ready to be transported to a time and place where every bite is a celebration of the city's captivating past. If you consider yourself a gastronome, a culinary historian or just an enthusiastic foodie, taking the Premier New Orleans Food Tour is nothing short of a pilgrimage through one of the best foodie cities in the United States.

Step into a Gastronomic Wonderland That is

New Orleans

New Orleans Food Tour
The Chartres House's !8th Century Courtyard and Horse Stables used as an Outdoor Seating Area Today

Our food tour commenced as the morning sky covered in a layer of rain swelled, grey clouds drenched the cobblestone streets, covering the French Quarter in a damp gleam. This historic district, famous for its European style architecture and lively street life, is also the heart of New Orlean’s food scene.

We gathered around our charismatic guide, Naif Shahady and the Premier New Orleans Food Tour's mascot Gaston, a stuffed alligator dressed in a pristine white chefs' coat and hat. The scent rich, spicy deliciousness wafted through the air, as we took our first bite of jambalaya, a hearty rice dish peppered with chicken and andouille sausage, at the New Orleans Cookery. Our palates awakened, we were ready for the journey through New Orleans' culinary landscape.

The Birth of Creole and Cajun Cuisine

New Orleans Food Tour
Duck and Andouille Gumbo

New Orleans is a city known for its unique culinary traditions, shaped by a fusion of cultures and flavors. At the heart of this vibrant food scene is the birth of Creole and Cajun cuisine, deeply rooted in the city's history.

Creole cuisine, with its French, Spanish, and African influences, emerged in the 18th century as a result of New Orleans' colonial past. The French settlers, along with African slaves and Spanish immigrants, brought with them their traditional cooking techniques and flavors, which blended harmoniously with the local ingredients.

Cajun cuisine, on the other hand, originated from the Acadian settlers who were expelled from Canada in the 18th century and found their way to Louisiana. These French-speaking Acadians adapted their cooking methods to the local ingredients, resulting in hearty dishes known for their bold flavors and use of ingredients like crawfish, andouille sausage, and wild game.

One of the most prominent influences on New Orleans cuisine is the African heritage brought to the city through the slave trade. African slaves brought with them their own culinary traditions, which were combined with the ingredients and cooking techniques of the region. This fusion gave birth to dishes like gumbo, a hearty stew that combines African okra with French and Spanish influences.

The difference between Cajun and Creole Cuisine can be confusing. Naif, our tour guide and owner of The Premier New Orleans Food Tour provided detailed information clarifying the difference. Both Creole and Cajun cuisines continue to thrive in New Orleans, showcasing the city's multicultural heritage on every plate.

Essential Online Links For Booking Your Trip to New Orleans

Logistics: Uber is available in New Orleans as are Taxis although the waits can be very long. Here are two airport transfer options that will considerably reduce your wait times, New Orleans Transportation Service or Private Transfer New Orleans to New Orleans MSY. 

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Other top-rated New Orleans tours and experiences:

New Orleans City Tour: Katrina, Garden District, French Quarter & Cemetery (great people who are visiting with limited time)

Top places to stay in New Orleans:  Roosevelt Hotel - Historic Luxury *** Ritz Carlton, New Orleans - Splurge Worthy*** Royal Sonesta, French Quarter - Best Location Luxury***Place d'Armes - Best Location Budget Friendly***Check out for the lowest prices on Accommodations

My favorite Guidebook for New Orleans: DK Press New Orleans  

My favorite New Orleans Foodie Book: Hungry Town 


Looking for More Information on Visiting New Orleans, check out these Blog Posts

Savoring Creole, Cajun and Italian Delights on Our Food Tour

New Orleans Food Tour
Muffulettas Showcase the Itaian Culinary Influences in New Orleans

The Premier New Orleans Food Tour artfully curates a variety of tasting locations that capture the city's soul. One such place is a The Boulevard, known for its Creole gumbo, simmering with dark roux, duck, shrimp the holy trinity of bell peppers, onions, and celery. The holy trinity is a deviation of French mirepoix, traditionally, two parts onion, one part carrots and one part celery. Because of the water saturated soil around New Orleans, the settlers could not grow carrots, so they substituted green bell pepper instead. It can include garlic, which is described as adding pope to the trinity, because an upside down pod of garlic looks like a Pope's hat. Each spoonful of gumbo tells the tale of the city’s Creole identity, a complex layering of European sophistication and African zest.

Naif explained that Cajun food is the rustic, country relative to urban Creole cuisine, born from the Acadian settlers’ adjustment to the new world. Jambalaya is a flavorful example of Cajun cooking, where sausage, spices and some type of meat, flavor a rice dish cooked in one pot.

As the city grew, it attracted immigrants from around the world. Today you can see the fingerprints of German, Caribbean, Vietnamese and Mexican immigrants in the culinary offering of New Orleans. My favorite influence is that of the Italians, expressed in the Muffuletta. This sandwich that is as much a piece of history as it is a feast for the palate.

This iconic creation first graced taste buds in 1906 at Central Grocery in the French Quarter, when Sicilian immigrant Salvatore Lupo had the brilliant notion to cater to the appetites of his fellow countrymen. He stacked a round, sesame-seeded loaf with layers of marinated olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, and provolone, concocting a sandwich that merged the flavors of New Orleans with the zest of Italy.

This delectable invention quickly became beloved by locals and visitors alike, transforming from a simple lunch for Sicilian butchers selling their produce at the nearby French Market to an example of New Orleans’ fusion cuisine, at its best. We enjoyed ours at the Market Cafe, just down the street from Central Grocery. The Muffuletta is not just a sandwich; it’s a jubilant parade of flavors, a testament to the city’s melting pot history, and an enduring legacy of its immigrant roots.

Po-Boys and Pralines: A Foodie's Delight in

New Orleans

New Orleans Food Tour
Shrimp Po Boy, Created in New Orleans to Feed Striking Street Car Workers

No food tour in New Orleans could overlook the iconic po-boy sandwich. At a quintessential mom-and-pop eatery, the Chartres House, we savored this local staple, relishing the crispy French bread stuffed with fried shrimp and dressed with a tangy remoulade. It’s a humble yet sublime concoction that truly embodies the spirit of New Orleans' street food, created to feed the street car workers when they went on strike in the early 1900's.

Sweet teeth were not forgotten on this epicurean adventure. At Aunt Sally's, we sampled pralines, those rich, sugar-laden gems that melt on the tongue and leave their caramelized pecan essence as a memory of indulgence. As we indulged, our guide regaled us with stories of its French and New Orleans Creole origins, weaving history into every bite.

Embracing New Orleans Through Other Senses on Our Food Tour

New Orleans Food Tour
St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square New Orleans, LA

A food tour in New Orleans is not merely about eating; it's an experience that rouses all senses. Between the tastings, we soaked in the melodious strains of jazz that is the lifeblood of the city. We absorbed tales of hardship, resilience, battles, wars and Generals, and the unmistakable spirit of the Crescent City that could be tasted in every morsel.

The quality of the tour guide makes all the difference between an average tour and an outstanding tour. Storytelling is a key skill for a tour guide. Naif is an artful storyteller and very precise in his recounting of history. One of my favorite stories, Naif shared was about Antoine's, the oldest family-owned restaurant in the United States, and their famous Oysters Rockefeller. In honor of John D. Rockefeller, this dish was created in the late 19th century, when there was an escargot shortage. It is a true testament to the timeless appeal of Creole cuisine. The blend of spinach, herbs, and breadcrumbs atop plump oysters is a harmonious symphony of flavors that has been delighting diners since1889.

Another of my favorites is the story behind coffee with chicory. During the American Civil War, when coffee supplies were scarce, New Orleanians turned to chicory root as a coffee substitute. The addition of chicory gave the coffee a distinct flavor and a delightful bitterness that became a beloved part of the city's coffee culture.

Ending Our Food Tour On a Sweet Note

New Orleans Food Tour
The Sweet Taste of Pralines

As our tour concluded, the afternoon transitioned to evening and the rain was clearing. It felt fitting to end a day of indulgence with the sweet taste of pralines on the tip of our tongues, encapsulated the spirit of old world cooking techniques and new world ingredients that is the essence of New Orleans cuisine Each of us walked away not just full, but enriched by the deep flavors and stories of this incredible city.

Our tour wasn’t just a meal, it was a long, savory banquet of history, culture, and community. If you ever find yourself drawn to the siren call of New Orleans, do your senses a favor and embark on the Premier New Orleans Food Tour with Naif Shahady. It's an immersive journey through the delicious heart of New Orleans that's as unforgettable as the city itself. With every bite and every step, you’re not just tasting food you are consuming but becoming part of the living, breathing narrative that is New Orleans. Bon appétit!

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