Another weekend in New Orleans, another great event. This one just happens to be one of our favorite food festivals.
The 28th Annual Creole Tomato Festival is happening tomorrow and Sunday (June 7 and 8) over at the French Market. Creole Tomatoes are used in just about any iconic New Orleans dish. Shrimp Creole? Check. That fully dressed po-boy you love chowing down on? Check. That’s why it’s no surprise that locals like to celebrate the popular vegetable when they first start to ripen during the first few weeks in June.
I know what you’re thinking: “It’s a tomato. It’s probably the same as any other tomato.” Well, if you are thinking that, then you’re wrong. There is a big difference between a tomato and a Creole tomato. Creole tomatoes thrive in rich soil and subtropical climate of south Louisiana, and you can taste the difference.
From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the three blocks between Dumaine and Barracks streets, you’ll find cooking demonstrations by local chefs, live outdoor music, and great food made with – you guessed it – Creole Tomatoes.
Even if you don’t love to cook, the cooking demonstrations are worth watching. This year festival-goers can learn how to make all kinds of things, like Creole Tomato Jam and Creole Tomato Cupcakes! Chef Andrea from Andrea’s Restaurant in Metairie is stopping by to whip up something special too, so be sure to check that out. We’re not sure what he’s making yet, but it’s guaranteed to be good, and it’s a great chance to see a master in the kitchen.
Multiple stages will be set up on both days that bands will be performing on. The Dutch Alley Pavilion Stage is at St. Philip and Decatur Streets, and the Abita Beer Stage will be near Barracks Street, alongside the Flee Market. Our band recommendation: Shotgun Jazz Band, a great local group that will be playing Saturday on the Dutch Alley Pavilion stage from 12:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Really though, for us, it all comes down to the food. More than a dozen restaurants will have booths set up, where they’ll be selling their favorite dishes made with Creole Tomatoes. This year, we’ve decided to try the Creole Tomato Oyster Rockefeller and Creole Tomato Shrimp Scampi from Oceana Grill, among a couple of other dishes. Can’t wait.
If you want to see some Creole Tomato lovers chow down though, come to the Creole Tomato eating contests Sunday at 1 p.m. Kids will compete at 1:15 p.m., and adults will compete at 1:30 p.m.