Close-up of colorful King Cake
Fêtez le Mardi Gras Comme Chez Nous: Celebrate Mardi Gras Like a Local
Image Courtesy of Black Bear Bread Co.

Located less than 300 miles away from New Orleans, the epicenter of Mardi Gras, South Walton is the perfect place to combine beautiful white sand beaches with the food, fun and festivities of Mardi Gras. From delectable Cajun eats to Mardi Paws dog celebrations, there’s plenty of fun for the whole family in South Walton. Check out our suggestions for how to get your Mardi Gras on and “Laissez les bon temps rouler” – let the good times roll!

New Orleans is famous for many things, one of them being their delicious array of Cajun-style foods. Many of South Walton’s restaurants have been influenced by the spicy cuisine and have something to satisfy your Cajun craving.

The Great Southern Café in Seaside features a New Orleans-style seafood gumbo on their lunch and dinner menu as well as their famous Grits á ya ya with blackened shrimp, bacon, spinach and Portobello mushrooms, a unique spin on a creole classic. You can also sample one of their po’boys or muffulettas – or if brunch is what you’re looking for, check out their Bloody Mary and beignets. View their menu here: http://www.thegreatsoutherncafe.com/.

If you’re looking for even more New Orleans-themed culinary delights, visit Acme Oyster House which originated in New Orleans and can be found right here in Seascape at the new Seascape Towne Centre. Their menu has a full section dedicated to New Orleans specialties like gumbo, jambalaya and étouffée. If that’s not enough to satisfy your palate, they have 16 different po’ boy varieties plus Bananas Foster Cheesecake and New Orleans-style Bread Pudding. View their menu here: http://www.acmeoyster.com/seascape/.

Another Mardi Gras tradition, and perhaps the sweetest one, King Cake has many different varieties – but the most well-known is the rung of twisted cinnamon roll-style dough topped with a sugary glaze and sugar-sprinkles in the traditional green, yellow and purple associated with Mardi Gras. Just because you’re not in the Big Easy doesn’t mean you have to give up on King Cake being part of your Fat Tuesday indulgences – multiple bakeries around town offer various sizes and styles of this beloved pastry.

Visit Black Bear Bread Co. to pick up a tasty cappuccino or their Lavender Latte, and grab a traditional King Cake while you’re there! Known for having naturally leavened and fresh baked bread and pastries, this locally owned and operated bakery shop is the perfect place to grab brunch, lunch or just a coffee and King Cake. You can get your hands on one of their freshly baked King Cakes until February 13th for $30 each with flavor options like traditional, praline, lemon cream cheese and praline cream cheese. Visit their website for more information on all that they offer at http://blackbearbreadco.com/ – or stop by their location at The Shoppes at Grayton Beach. 

Publix Bakery can also set you up with a King Cake with your choice of cinnamon, cream cheese or strawberry cream cheese filling. The bakery has them ready to go – or you can order ahead for a customized cake. Visit their website at www.publix.com to find the location nearest you. 

 

With full bellies, it’s time to get the party started! South Walton has events for everyone in the family, including the dog! While you’re getting your grub on at Acme Oyster House, you can also experience Fat Tuesday activities like face painting, kids parades, live music and of course plenty of beads.

The Village of Baytowne Wharf will host its 15th Annual Mardi Gras Dog Parade dedicated to the furry friends of Baytowne. Watch as canines of all sizes strut their stuff dressed for this year’s "Bone Appetit" theme at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 11th. Of course, pets aren’t the only ones getting to enjoy the Mardi Gras celebrations – on Tuesday, February 13th at 5 p.m. you can celebrate with the 16th Annual Fat Tuesday Parade. Dress in your Mardi Gras best and get ready for beads, moon-pies and other trinkets to rain down from floats, golf carts and pick-up trucks. The celebration will continue into the night with post-parade festivities like street performers and parties throughout the village. For more information on these events or to register yourself or pup for the parades, visit www.baytownewharf.com.

If you’re here to celebrate Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day, only one day apart this year, why not extend your trip into the weekend and participate in the 29th Annual Sandestin Gumbo Festival. Not only a New Orleans staple but also a Gulf Coast favorite, chefs from around the area will go head-to-head to see who has the best gumbo on the Emerald Coast. Stroll into Fat Tuesday’s in Baytowne for a frozen daiquiri treat to sip on and feel like you’re right in the middle of the French Quarter.