Sunday, September 2, 2012

Product Review: Cafe Du Monde Chicory Coffee

Product Review: Cafe Du Monde Chicory Coffee
{GF* +  Vegan  + Vegetarian + Low-Carb}

Cafe Du Monde Chicory Coffee
with Almond Milk
When living a Gluten-Free, vegan, vegetarian, or low-carb lifestyle there are many amazing New Orleans food favorites that get taken, literally, off of the table.  Gumbo, Jambalaya, Po Boys and Beignets are forbidden to Gluten-Free eaters due to the flour-content of roux (used in much Canjun cooking) and also used for baking the Po Boy sandwich bread and Beignets.  For low-carb eaters, Gumbo and Jambalaya are taken out of the running by the high-carb rice they are served with, while vegetarian eaters probably won't be able to easily find veggie-friendly versions.  Vegans eaters are mostly just out of luck.

Pretty crappy, huh?  Well, don't get too down yet.  You CAN still get a taste of New Orleans even if you practice any one of these diets.  But, instead of *eating* New Orleans, you'll be *drinking* it.  I'm talking about Cafe Du Monde Chicory Coffee!

Cafe Du Monde Chicory Coffee: New Orleans Flavors for the Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian and/or Low-Carb Eater

Cafe Du Monde Chicory Coffee is available online at Cafe Du Monde's website, Cafe Du Monde Coffee, at many grocery stores in the South, including Super Target, and through online retailers such as Amazon.com.  

Cafe Du Monde's Chicory coffee is a great way to experience or remind yourself of the great flavors of New Orleans in the comfort of your home and without wandering outside of the Gluten-Free, Vegetarian or Vegan, or Low Carb diet(s) you practice.  

What is Chicory, Anyway?

Well now, that's a good question!  It's lettuce!  

Well, not exactly.  Chicory is made from the roots of endive plants, a type of lettuce that is from the same family as daisies.  You've probably eaten endive in salads and never known it--it comes in multiple varieties, including curly varieties sometimes referred to as frisee.  
Endive, leaf-form

The leaf of the endive can be somewhat bitter, but the roots--from which chicory is derived via roasting and grinding--is actually used to tame down the bitterness of coffee and to impart a slightly chocolaty flavor.  The end result is a more complex coffee drinking experience where the sometimes overpowering bitterness of coffee is subdued to allow for more subtle flavors, including the chocolate-like flavor of the chicory itself, to shine through.

Why is Chicory Coffee Representative of New Orleans Flavors?

As is true of much of New Orleans' most famous and well loved cuisine, Chicory coffee has its roots in French and French-Creole culture.  

Chicory itself became an additive in coffee during the French civil war.  With very small stocks of many food products, including coffee, the French would add chicory to their coffee to make their stores last longer.  This French culinary tradition was later brought to New Orleans along with many other French eating customs.  

Today, chicory coffee serves as the base of the Cafe Au Lait's (half milk / half coffee) you can (and should) order at many New Orleans eating establishments, including the famous Cafe Du Monde (made famous for their beignets).  

Chicory coffee is, I found from experience, such a cultural symbol of New Orleans food culture and history that old advertisements for chicory coffees constitute the subject matter of many postcards for sale at local bakeries and coffee houses.  If you've been to New Orleans you've probably spotted for yourself a postcard for sale like the one at the left!

Product Recommendation

Go for it!  Cafe Du Monde's Chicory Coffee is well loved and easily available--no matter how near to or far from New Orleans you are geographically.  I've been drinking my Cafe Du Monde Chicory Coffee with chocolate soy milk (to boost the chocolate flavor of the chicory) and with unsweetened plain almond milk.  Either milk substitute goes well in the Chicory Coffee.  

And, if you're feeling *really* authentic, bust out some dairy milk and mix yourself up a Cafe Au Lait--remember, it's just 1/2 milk and 1/2 Chicory coffee.  Easy!

* Note--There are no gluten containing ingredients in the Cafe Du Monde Chicory Coffee and GF eaters have routinely reported using this product safely (I could find no contradictory instances).  However, there is no GF labeling. 

Happy, Health, Weird Eating!
Kate

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