February 21, 2014

Southern Celebrations: How to Host a Mardi Gras Party

Mardi Gras is such a festive time, but not all of us can traipse to New Orleans (or anywhere) to take part in the official celebrations. It's still possible to enjoy the festivities, by throwing your own Mardi Gras party for family and friends.

I shared some tips for a DIY Mardi Gras party on Knoxville's WTNZ Fox43 and I wanted to share them with you as well!

The central focus of any good party is always the food, right? My idea for a DIY Mardi Gras celebration is to set up a make-your-own grits bar. It's sort of like a hot fudge sundae bar, except with grits. The best thing about grits (besides their being tasty) is they are affordable. You can make up a whole mess of grits without spending much money.

Then, gather a variety of different toppings and let your guests go to town!

Possible topping options for a Mardi Gras grits bar include:
  • Shrimp
  • corn
  • feta cheese
  • roasted red peppers
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • sauteed spinach
  • chives or chopped onions
  • creme fraiche 
  • andouille sausauge
  • jalapeno peppers  
  • chow chow, relish, etc.

Other food to serve for a Mardi Gras party might be anything and everything that is local to New Orleans or Louisiana. Zapp's chips, Abita beer (or root beer), Tobasco, pralines, etc. Whatever you can find and think your guests might enjoy! It's your party after all. 

You might also want to put together some fun Mardi Gras party favors for your guests to take home. I found these adorable yellow polka-dot take-out containers at World Market. Combined with green and purple tissue paper, they made adorable favors! I filled them with pralines (prah-leens, y'all!), tiny bottles of tobasco and traditional Mardi Gras chocolate coin candy. All of this was from World Market too...but you could probably find similar items at a party supply store or craft store. 

Finally, whip up a batch of beignets from the world famous Cafe du Monde! Don't forget the powdered sugar! Enjoy them with a cup of Cafe du Monde coffee for the complete experience. You could serve this as a late-night snack to give your Mardi Gras guests a boost or even just send them home with a gift basket as a souvenir to help them remember your festive gathering! (source for Cafe du Monde items - World Market). 

Happy Friday folks and Laissez les bons temps rouler, y'all!