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New Orleanians have had a sweet tooth for more than 200 years. Sugar made millionaires in this city back in the day, and its power to please has never been questioned.
New Orleans is also a place where if you want to eat dessert first, or for breakfast, nobody raises an eyebrow. Although some traditional treats are informed with an achingly sweet sensibility - pralines come immediately to mind - the historic influence of French pastry chefs left an indelible imprint on the food culture.
As with every course of a good New Orleans meal, dessert is expected to be something special, whether you're talking bread pudding, bananas foster, multiple layers of ethereal Doberge cake or Italian gelato infused with local seasonal fruit.
Come Carnival time, innovative pastry chefs make King Cake more than just about the baby, riffing off of the traditional pastry with flavors like banana and peanut butter, Meyer lemon, goat cheese and apple. chocolate pecan and strawberry.
Flaming desserts are always a crowd pleaser and bananas foster is synonymous with New Orleans - the dish was dreamed up at Brennan's in 1951 by chef Paul Blangé. New Orleans, being a port city, was a major entry point for bananas and the chef created a dessert with rum, butter, bananas and vanilla ice cream that is still wonderful to this day.