The menu of Mardi Gras: Sweet and savory seasonal culinary delights abound in Baldwin County

Lifestyle Editor
Posted 1/26/24

Holidays and food go hand in hand, and Mardi Gras is no different.

Thanksgiving has pumpkin pie and turkey, Halloween has candy, and Easter has ham. What about Mardi Gras?

When it comes to …

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The menu of Mardi Gras: Sweet and savory seasonal culinary delights abound in Baldwin County


Holidays and food go hand in hand, and Mardi Gras is no different.

Thanksgiving has pumpkin pie and turkey, Halloween has candy, and Easter has ham. What about Mardi Gras?

When it comes to this time of year, it is not hard to get your hands on king cake-flavored everything, from coffee and cocktails to beignets and pound cake. We asked some local chefs and restaurateurs about what food they associate with Mardi Gras and what special food items they create for the Mardi Gras season.

Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream

Camilla “Cammie” Wayne, owner and chief ice cream maker at Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream, a Mobile classic that is expanding, created a couple of Mardi Gras ice cream flavors shortly after purchasing the business to get customers in the door.

Back in her early days, before she started making her own ice cream, Wayne would let the vanilla ice cream soften and stir in torn-up MoonPies.

“There was a waiting list for people to get it. I could not make it fast enough,” Wayne said. “Then I started making my own ice cream. I do chocolate MoonPie, salted caramel MoonPie banana MoonPie and coconut MoonPie too.”

Wayne doesn’t limit herself to MoonPies. She has created two award-winning king cake ice creams as well. One has a cinnamon base, an entire king cake ripped up mixed in with a cream cheese icing swirl. The second king cake flavor consists of a cream cheese ice cream base, an entire king cake ripped up and praline pecans.

The seasonal specialty flavors are limited in production and are only available at a Cammie Old Dutch Ice Cream shop.

“When we make a special flavor like that it is so expensive,” Wayne said. “I make no money off them. It is to pull them in.”

Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream’s Mardi Gras flavors pull in the customers and the awards. Wayne’s most recent award came at the 2024 King Cake-Off in Mobile where one of the king cake flavored ice creams won in the Non-Traditional King Cake category. Stop into one of Cammie’s Old Dutch locations to try the limited flavors soon!

Ed’s Seafood Shed

Bushwhacker fanatics took one look at Ed’s Seafood Shed’s social media teaser of the Banana MoonPie Bushwhacker and ordered 75 in three days. All before the boozy adult milkshake was officially for sale but Nick DiMario and the amazing team at Ed’s are in the people-pleasing business and did not want to disappoint their loyal customers.

DiMario and “Panini” Pete Blohme are business partners in PP Hospitality and owns five restaurants between Baldwin and Mobile counties with another underway.

The teams throughout all PP Hospitality’s properties have fun with seasonal items and Mardi Gras is no different.

“We take raw ingredients and we transform them into something that’s super fun that everybody has to have,” DiMario said. “During Christmas, we sold over 900 of the Little Debbie Christmas tree Bushwhackers.”

All the PP Hospitality properties have a seasonal Mardi Gras Menu that highlights foods that bring Mardi Gras to mind. Panini Pete’s has the beignets, café au lait and the Muffaletta. Ed’s has the Banana Moonpie Bushwhacker, a gator bite and crawfish tail appetizer, Mardi Gras beignets and shrimp and grits. But according to DiMario, it is more than just the food.

“We are in the entertainment business,” DiMario said. “We get to create with food and beverage and then please people.”

For DiMArio, the entertainment business of food means having the music, lighting and costumes just right. He said during Mardi Gras season that means Zydeco music playing at just the right level, the lights just right and the staff wearing Mardi Gras shirts.

But what dish does DiMario enjoy most during Mardi Gras season?

“Gumbo,” DiMario said. “I love gumbo with Gulf shrimp, crawfish tails and a dark roux with just very light rice and some cornbread.”

Head to Ed’s Seafood Shed and try the gumbo with an order of fried cornbread. DiMario suggests crumbling the cornbead over the top of the gumbo.

Market By The Bay

Michael Sullivan went back to his roots when he took over Market By The Bay in 2022. The tiny kitchen was where he worked his first job out of culinary school and while the owner has changed the staple menu items and gumbo recipe has not.

Sullivan grew up on the Gulf Coast and has deep memories of Mardi Gras. When asked what his go-to Mardi Gras food is, he was hit with a food memory: the smell of sausage with peppers and onions cooking on a food cart. He said enjoying a sausage with peppers and onions is a guilty pleasure during the Mardi Gras parades. But when it comes to Mardi Gras food at the restaurant, it’s the Market By The Bay gumbo and jambalaya.

When it comes to holiday sweets Sullivan has a secret weapon in the kitchen two days a week, his mom Sonja Dowdle. If you have stopped by Market By The Bay and enjoyed a sweet treat to end your meal that was Dowdle’s handiwork. She owned Delish Desserts and Eatery in Mobile for many years before retiring. When Sullivan took over Market By The Bay, he knew he wanted to offer more desserts and asked her for help.

The desserts on offer change weekly but Dowdle has baked up a mini king cake pound cake, Mardi Gras cheesecake and a MoonPie banana pudding.

“Mardi Gras is probably my favorite holiday,” Sullivan said. “It really is a time to let loose, have fun and eat great food. I don’t think people down here start New Year’s resolutions till after Mardi Gras.”