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Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, New Orleans’ Southern Food & Beverage Museum tells the wide-ranging stories of the 16 Southern U.S. states — specifically, how their cuisines are a reflection of their histories, communities and cultures.
The nonprofit museum, which first opened in 2008 at NOLA’s Riverwalk but has since moved to the Uptown/Garden district, features approximately 20,000 items across a variety of exhibits. About 95 percent of the collection consists of donations, while the remaining items are on loan from various collectors and organizations.
On display is everything from La Galerie de l'Absinthe, a gallery of the early days of absinthe, to a state’s standard food items (for example, Alabama is represented by barbecue sauce, beer and potatoes.) Guests can also view rare items including dishware and food menus from the White House, as well as early-edition bottles of Tabasco hot sauce.
The Rouses Culinary Innovation Center by Jenn-Air is housed within the Southern Food & Beverage Museum and offers weekly cooking classes and demonstrations in its 1,300-square-foot commissary kitchen. A Creole cooking class teaches participants how to make okra and tomatoes, jambalaya, bananas Foster and French bread, while a Louisiana cuisine course breaks down how to make macque choux (a traditional Louisiana side dish typically containing corn, bell peppers and onions), gumbo and gateau de sirop (Cajun spice cake).
Experiencing the Southern Food & Beverage Museum will undoubtedly work up an appetite, so advise clients to head next door to Toups South, a restaurant specializing in the best of Southern cuisine. (Alternatively, start out at Toups South and then grab a cocktail to sip while exploring the museum.)
Helmed by local chef Isaac Toups (who also owns Toups Meatery in NOLA and was a fan favorite in season 13 of “Top Chef”), the eatery offers local classics with Toups’ signature twist, including goat tamales topped with charred green tomato relish and fermented padron crema; grilled gulf shrimp with Szechuan peppercorn and peach slaw; and crab-fat butter to smear on sourdough biscuits.
The DetailsSouthern Food & Beverage Museumwww.natfab.org