Mardi Gras marks the last hurrah of decadence and indulgence before the 40 days of Lent. Every year, New Orleans hosts an elaborate Mardi Gras celebration filled with masks, beads, food and music. Since we unable to travel to the Big Easy for Mardi Gras, Kanchana hosted a fabulous midwinter celebration full of bold colors, Southern bites and lots of fun. We are excited to share our dinner party with you.
Carnival officially begins 12 days after Christmas and continues until the day before Ash Wednesday (also known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday). This year, Mardi Gras falls on March 5th. Carnival is filled with parades, masquerade balls and parties. Proper celebrations include a feast with rich, fatty foods before the 40 days of fasting until Easter.
We infused several Mardi Gras elements into the decor. The color palette incorporated the traditional colors of purple, gold and green, which have symbolic meanings:
Purple represents Justice
Gold represents Power
Green represents Faith
We added Sparkle N Shine’s sparkly violet handmade Mardi Gras banner. The banner framed the seating area and created the perfect spot for our photo opps. We decorated the coffee table with a Beatriz Ball sterling silver tray and a bud vase filled with purple gems, violet Veronica and mini yellow ranunculus.
We created our gorgeous Mardi Gras tablescape with a sequined gold tablecloth, Villeroy & Boch dishes, Mikasa glassware, sterling silver flatware, crisp white Williams Sonoma napkins and Crate and Barrel wooden napkin rings.
Our table centerpiece included a bouquet of violet iris, yellow calla lilies and green dianthus and two cylinders decorated with purple gems, violet ostrich feathers and colorful masquerade masks. We scattered purple votives on the table for an additional pop of Mardi Gras color.
New Orleans is known for its rich culture and one-of-a-kind cuisine that combines French, African and American flavors. Our dinner incorporated Mardi Gras dishes with Cajun and Creole flavors. Kanchana created the Mardi Gras menu with Must Have Menus.
For the first course, guests nibbled savory monkey bread, cod fritters and fried brie. We paired the appetizers with a Domaine Carneros sparkling wine. The effervescence and acidity of the bubbly complemented the saltiness and richness of the fried bites.
For our second course, our friend, Camille, prepared a green salad with sweet potato and candied walnuts. Next, we feasted on jambalaya, which is a Louisiana dish with Spanish and French flavors. Our friend, Beth, prepared the dish with shrimp, turkey sausage, vegetables and chicken broth. We paired the spicy jambalaya with a fruity Burgundy.
It isn’t Mardi Gras without a king cake! The king cake is crown shaped and named after the biblical three kings. The cake is usually filled with cream cheese and decorated with icing and purple, green and gold sugars to represent justice, faith and power. A small plastic baby is often hidden inside the cake to represent luck and prosperity for those who find it. Our friend, Leah, ordered the cake from Gambino’s where they’ve been perfecting the Mardi Gras tradition since 1949. This year, Kanchana got the lucky piece of cake with the baby!
It wouldn’t be Mardi Gras without masks and Big Easy beats. Guests sported their favorite masquerade masks while listening to jazz.
Tell us how you plan to “let the good times roll” in the comments below.
Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once. — Chris Rose