A Flavorful Journey
Louisiana’s cuisine is influenced by a myriad of cultures including French, Spanish, African, and more, with names to suit those cultures like étouffée, boudin, andouille, maque choux, and jambalaya. It also includes some of Louisiana’s fresh seafood that visitors may never have sampled like crawfish or alligator. It’s no wonder that Louisiana food draws such interest and curiosity from outsiders.
The two most iconic types of Louisiana cuisine are Creole and Cajun. Telling them apart can be difficult, because you can often find both variations of the same dish—there is Creole gumbo and Cajun gumbo, and Creole jambalaya and Cajun jambalaya. Creole is a fusion of European, African and Caribbean cooking techniques using Louisiana ingredients that rose to prevalence in New Orleans in the early 1800s. Cajun is the cuisine of 18th Century French-Acadian exiles who settled in the swamps and prairies of southwest Louisiana. One insider tip to help you tell the difference is that tomatoes are fairly common in Creole and somewhat rare in Cajun.
Chicken and andouille sausage jambalaya.
Louisiana blue crab seafood boil.
Meat Pie's from Lasyone's in Natchitoches.
Seafood gumbo is one of the many varieties of gumbo found across the state.
A common denominator of Louisiana cuisine is often local seafood. The state has 400 miles—actually thousands of miles if you count bays and inlets—of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, making it one of North America’s most productive shrimp, oyster, and crab fisheries. Meanwhile, inland marshes and swamps contribute catfish (a white freshwater fish), crawfish (akin to miniature freshwater lobsters) and exotic reptile meats such as alligator.
Louisiana’s eight Culinary Trails help our guests sample the very best of the flavors the state has to offer. Each trail is regional and celebrates the cuisine of the region, from the world-famous meat pies and traditional Southern flare of north Louisiana to the riches of the wetlands in the “Louisiana Outback” in the southwest. Find out how you can travel the trail and experience the flavors of Louisiana's culinary scene.
In Louisiana, we don’t stop with our unique culinary creations. The state is also home to craft breweries, distilleries and wineries. All across the state fresh brews and wines are being concocted that showcase local ingredients like blueberries, strawberries, roasted coffee, and honey. In some cases, such as Bayou Teche Brewing, these libations are crafted to pair with Louisiana cuisine. And in south Louisiana, distilleries are utilizing the state’s sugarcane and rice to create spirits like vodka, rum, gin, and whiskey. Learn more about the spirits of Louisiana at Louisiana Libations.
In addition to the tasting experiences available in the state, Louisiana offers visitors a chance to get their hands dirty and learn how these flavors are made. Cooking demonstrations and schools will teach the basics of Louisiana cuisine with favorites like jambalaya, gumbo, and pralines. Tours of smokehouses will teach the history of andouille before you settle down for a taste. Many Louisiana farms offer “pick your own” opportunities to guests who can walk the farm or orchard and leave with buckets of blueberries, strawberries, pecans, fresh herbs and more.
No matter their individual tastes, visitors to Louisiana always leave with a new favorite food or drink and some exciting stories to go with it.
Landry Vineyards Outdoor Concert Series.
Visit Bayou Rum for Louisiana crafted spirits.