If 2021 has taught us anything, it’s “you can’t always get what you want,” also lamented by the Rolling Stones more than 50 years ago. Supply chain issues have impacted everything from grocery store shelves to restaurant kitchens. Still, there is one place you can find ingredients that exceed your greatest expectations and are readily available. New Orleans is at the heart of one of the richest ecosystems on earth, making it a chef’s paradise with fresh seafood, freshly harvested fruits and vegetables, and culinary innovators of everything from ice cream to rye whiskey.
Fresh Seafood is an Everyday Staple New Orleans Catering
At Messina’s Catering and Events, we are thankful for the good fortune to be 3rd Generation New Orleans caterers. Our family-owned catering company has embraced the incredible natural bounty that surrounds us and is why we consider the four seasons to be crawfish season, shrimp season, crab season, and Mardi Gras season. Fishermen have celebrated the bounty of Louisiana’s Gulf of Mexico coastline, marshes, bayous, lakes, and rivers for more than 400 years. One out of every 70 jobs in Louisiana is related to the seafood industry. The seafood industry has an economic impact of $2.4 billion annually and makes our state the second-largest seafood supplier in the nation.
Most seafood can be raw or lightly cooked, flash fried, blackened, provide a remarkable base for delicate sauces, and yet are hearty enough to stand out in a rich stew. They’ve been used in Cajun and Creole recipes for centuries. It’s not uncommon to find shrimp, alligator, crab, oysters, and fresh food on our catering menus and local restaurants.
Meats and Produce Make Up a Large Sector of the Louisiana Agricultural Economy
Louisiana is the third-largest producer of rice in the U.S., which is a $397 million industry. Plus, more than 40 percent of America’s grain exports move through the ports of Louisiana. It’s no wonder that rice is a staple in many authentic Louisiana dishes like gumbo.
The Pelican State’s most valuable crop is soybeans, followed by cotton and sugar cane. Soil rich enough to produce these staples also provides everything from microgreens to organic fruits and vegetables. An ad by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry sums it up best:
“Louisiana grown fruits and vegetables may come from places with exotic names like Ponchatoula, Dubach, and Keatchie, but they get to market fresh in hours. No trip through customs. No layover in Atlanta. It’s just a breezy ride in the back of your farmer’s truck.”
At Messina’s, we incorporate fresh, locally sourced produce as our first choice. After all, the items on our catering menu would not be as award-winning without them. Whenever possible, the corn in our corn and crab bisque was grown within Louisiana state lines — as is the okra, beef, chicken, eggs, salad greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes you’ll find in other items on our catering menus.
Local Chefs and Spirits Makers Take Full Advantage of Louisiana’s Bounty
New Orleans is the birthplace of innovation in a city known for its food and revelry. One local purveyor makes creole cream cheese ice cream with a chunky mango-peach sauce on top. A top local bakery offers fresh berry croissants, while another offers guava king cake. Farmers grow fruits, vegetables, herbs, honey, and other specialty crops all around us. There are no less than six local weekly farmer’s markets within the City limits, making fresh ingredients readily available.
Local delicacy goes beyond food. Many local brewers craft high-quality, small-batch beers and ciders using locally sourced ingredients. The Parleaux Beer Lab serves up frothy glasses of Evanescent Sage/Sweetgrass Saison or Through the Fog Bourbon Barrel Aged Brown Sour, with offerings often changing with the seasons. Speaking of bourbon, the Sazerac House in New Orleans concocted the first cocktail in America and still distills its Sazerac Rye whiskey and world-famous Peychaud’s Bitters in a process that dates as far back as the 1850s.
Think Local for Your Next Event To Avoid Supply Chain Issues
Our top-notch team at Messina’s can make your next catered event unforgettable and full of New Orleans flavor. We can tailor the catering menu to fit your tastes and budget, from unique menu options, table settings, and food staging to lively spirits bars and inventive chef stations. Learn more by visiting MessinasCatering.com.