Laissez les bons temps rouler: let the good times roll in your kitchen for Mardi Gras!

Warm up your February with the fantastic food traditions and sweets that go into Carnival and Mardi Gras, celebrated around the world on Feb 13.

Looking to brighten up your February? Families who love sweets can laissez les bon temps rouler (“let the good times roll”) for Carnival season! Traditionally a Christian celebration, Carnival is a Latin word that translates to “a farewell to meat” and it’s a period of feasting before fasting for the reflective period of Lent. Carnival’s parade-studded festivals in New Orleans, Quebec and Brazil are world famous—try a taste of the celebrations with these recipes below!

Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday”  and is the last day of feasting, so get hungry before you launch into these recipes! Start with Jambalaya, or muffeletta (a classic New Orleans sandwich—this pinwheel variation captures all the taste in a handful). Moon pies are a sweet sandwich cookie thrown from parade floats to the crowds in New Orleans—here’s how to make your own variation at home. And it’s not Mardi Gras unless you eat donuts, or beignets. For beginner cooks, here’s a super simple recipe—and for more ambitious cooks, here’s a yeasted one! Whichever you choose, have fun practicing saying “beaucoup beignets” the proper Louisiana way (“boo-coo ben-yays”) while you pour on the powdered sugar.

In Quebec City, carnival foods include hearty pork-based dishes like cassoulet and split pea soup. For sweets, have fun with this maple taffy poured directly on snow and beaver tails—a cousin to donuts, these fried pastries come with toppings like cinnamon sugar or hazelnut spread, and are a fantastic way to fuel up after a long skate. Don’t forget hot chocolate!

Of course, in both North America and around the world, February 13th is also celebrated with pancakes—time for a little breakfast for dinner! Try these dinner pancakes, or treat yourself to a sweeter version with Apple Butterscotch Pancakes.

Looking for more Carnival recipes? Here’s a wonderful exploration of Carnival recipes around the world, including some highlights from Brazil via Jamie Oliver.

And, if you’re looking for meaningful ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day together, tie on an apron and get cooking with these 8 ideas! Don’t forget to tell your feathered and furry friends you love them with these Valentine’s pet treats.


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