The Chicory Coffee Mix That New Orleans Made Its Own
It started as a cost-saving workaround but stuck around for tradition’s sake
Mardi Gras revelers in New Orleans may be needing all sorts of hangover cures this week, and they couldn’t do better if they visited the legendary Cafe du Monde and ordered beignets and coffee. The coffee, however, won’t taste quite the same and its not because your stomach is reconfiguring itself in its post-Bacchanalian recovery. Café du Monde, as part of what has become a New Orleans tradition, makes their coffee with chicory, the root of a blue-flowered perennial plant.
Though the root has been cultivated since ancient Egypt, chicory has been roasted, ground and mixed with coffee in France since the 19th century. (The term chicory is an anglicised French word, the original being chicoree.) The root traditionally was used on its own in tea or in medicinal remedies to treat jaundice, liver enlargement gout and rheumatism