Friday, January 1, 2010

Bayou Country - Slidell, Louisiana

Bayou Country
1101 East Howze Beach Rd.
I-10 at Exit 261 (Oak Harbor)
Slidell, LA 70461
Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (“or so”)
Sunday – call schedules vary

By Jane Feehan

There’s a large eye-catching structure along I-10 (south side) in Slidell with “Pralines” prominently posted. A sign with the name of the establishment - Bayou Country – becomes readable only from its parking lot. No matter, it was the pralines I sought.

Upon entering Bayou Country, I discovered an unexpected world of shopping that almost made me forget why I stopped there in the first place.

This is a fun store with loads of products for the tourist or anyone fond of Louisianan or Cajun culture. There are gift baskets, “Slap Ya Mama” spices (read the reason for the name on the packaging), wonderful Louisiana cookbooks, including the mammoth Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cooking by Chef John D. Folse, soaps, mugs, bar mixes, T-shirts, jellies and sauces – and much more.

Back to the pralines. Sold in a wide assortment of flavors and cooked up fresh daily, they're excellent. I had never sampled a chocolate version until my visit to Bayou Country – delicious.

A cafĂ© on site serves up Louisiana favs including gumbo, po-boys, bisque, red beans and rice, and jambalaya. Having already eaten in New Orleans that day, I didn’t try the food. The apple pie and other deserts looked interesting.

The staff, extremely accommodating, seems to enjoy working there as much as the visitors do shopping. Items are also available through their Web site. © 2010 All rights reserved.

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