Muffuletta of Central Grocery in New Orleans

It was more than 2 years ago when Spouse and I went to New Orleans on a day trip from Biloxi, Mississippi.  I fell in love with the city even before we set foot in it.

On our approach to the city, the car radio was tuned to a local station that was playing the music of the city, jazz.  Driving on Interstate 10 to cross the now world-infamous Lake Ponchartrain, I was struck by the beauty of the many bridges, the city and the beautiful waters of the lake and the mighty Mississippi beyond.

Aside from being the home of jazz and the blues, New Orleans is also famous for its cuisine.

My target on that summer’s day was the Muffuleta of Central Grocery.  I first heard of it in the PBS special, “Sandwiches You Will Like”  that Spouse and I watched just a few weeks before our trip.  Central Grocery is located in the French Quarter, on Decatur Street.  If you are not looking for it, you can easily miss it.  But I was a woman on a mission that day….my radar was up and my tummy was leading the way.

Soon as we got tothe place, Spouse and I made a beeline for the counter where we placed our order of a whole Muffuletta.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of the sandwich.  The photo I posted here is of the inside of the grocery.   I was standing in the back, where they put long shelves that served as tables where customers could stand and have their Muffuletta undisturbed – with large cans of Italian olive oil by their feet.

It’s very unassuming, just like an old grocery is supposed to look like – crammed from floor to ceiling with jars and bottles and cans of everything you can think of.  This was an Italian grocer so they had imported Italian foodstuffs as well as the local Cajun staples.

Now to the Muffuleta….the sandwich is humongously huge and it has everything.  It’s a round foccaccia-style bread with deli meats and cheeses topped by an olive salad to keep it all together.

If I remember correctly from the PBS show, the olives and veggies are marinated in a dressing for at least 24 hours.  This is what makes the sandwich stand out from any ordinary Italian deli sandwich.

I hope that wasn’t the last Muffuletta I will have in my lifetime.  If it was, I’ll never forget it.  And before I go, I’ll tell my friends and family to go to New Orleans at least once in their life, and have a Muffuletta at the Central Grocery in New Orleans in my memory….

The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine
The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine

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