This weekend marks the beginning of Carnival celebrations. It's the time of the year where Christians (or anyone who wants to have fun) indulges in the best food, drinks and music right before the beginning of Lent.
The Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans and the Carnival at Rio de Janeiro are just two of the world's biggest events. Whether you are headed there yourself or celebrating at home, you should at least enjoy one of the many foods associated with Fat Tuesday. Here's a sample of some popular Carnival dishes:
Anyone who has ever been to New Orleans is quite familiar with this cocktail. It's a year-round cocktail that becomes even more popular during Mardi Gras. But you don't have to be in the Big Easy to enjoy this drink - you can make it at home with this recipe.
A quintessial New Orleans dish and a must-have for Mardi Gras, gumbo is best accompanied by an ice cold beer. The best part is gumbo can be made with shrimp, chicken, sausage or all of the above. It's up to you to decide how you prefer it - just remember the secret is in the roux.
Any Carnival celebrations will have a variety of deep-fried goodies. One that often goes under the radar are Italian bugie. These deep-fried pastries are often filled with jam and dusted with powdered sugar. Every Italian region has their own version, the Venetians have ones called frappe. They are just the thing to have as a sweet ending to a night of fun.
Caipirinhas are to Brazil what mojitos are to Miami. By far, they are the most popular Brazilian cocktail known worldwide. Capirinhas are made of local rum called cachaca, muddled lime and sugar. Here's a great recipe so you can make your own.
This New Orleans rice dish is as tasty as it gets. Spicy, smoked yellow rice is mixed with chicken, seafood, sausage and spices for a flavorful dish equivalent to a creole paella. Try this recipe from New Orleans chef John Besh.