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Essential New Orleans Ingredients

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The French practice of stretching limited coffee supplies with roasted, ground chicory root during Napoleon's blockade in 1808 eventually made its way to Louisiana with Acadian immigrants, and became popular in New Orleans during the Civil War, when another blockade cut coffee imports short. While it's no longer a necessity, it is tradition, and tasty too; the chicory smooths out the bitterness of the coffee and adds a slightly sweet, chocolate-like flavor. One of the best places to try it is at Cafe Du Monde, where you can also get it "au lait" (with milk), and should definitely accompany it with a plate of sugar-dusted beignets.

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