Celebrating Mardi Gras 2022

Even if you can’t make it down for Mardi Gras this year, there’s no reason to miss out on the fun. Here are our options for celebrating the holiday in person or from home. So start planning so you don’t miss out on the fun.

Mobile, Alabama

Mobile is THE birthplace of Mardi Gras in the United States, with the American celebration dating back to 1703. In this city, where MoonPies are the most coveted parade “throw” and beads hang from trees year-round, Mardi Gras is truly a way of life.

Planned Events:

A full listing of planned events can be found at Mobile.org. All events are subject to change.

  • The 2022 parade schedule extends from January 29 to March 1.
  • A tradition that started in 2021 is continuing to roll into the 2022 Carnival season. The Mobile Porch Parade is a socially distanced way for Mobilians to join in the fun by decorating their homes and registering to be on the official parade map. Everyone is invited to follow the “parade routes” – by way of foot, car or bike – at their leisure.

Celebrate at Home

  • To help get you in the spirit of the season, Toomey’s Mardi Gras features one of the largest inventories of Mardi Gras supplies anywhere in the world. Headquartered in a 70,000-square-foot facility is overflowing with beads, costumes, masks, and decorations. And that’s just the start. They even have MoonPies.
  • Local women-owned business ellenJAY offers a seasonal Mardi Gras Combo Box, Inside are four beautifully decorated mask sugar cookies, four chocolate chip sammies with vanilla buttercream and Mardi Gras sprinkles, and four cinnamon teacakes. The 12-count combo box is $59.95.

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama

Head to  Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and celebrate Mardi Gras on the beach.

Planned Events:

A full listing of planned events can be found at gulfshores.com

. All events are subject to change.

  • Don’t miss the Orange Beach Mardi Gras Parade. Organized each year by the City of Orange Beach, this year’s parade is scheduled for Saturday, February 26.
  • They all love a parade. That’s why the city of Gulf Shores offers both land and sea parades on Mardi Gras With the oldest parading order in Baldwin County, the Gulf Shores Mardi Gras Parade will take place at 10 a.m. on March 1. Later that day, the Mardi Gras Boat Parade, organized by Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s, sets sail. 

Celebrate at Home

  • Possibly the most famous of all Mardi Gras dishes is gumbo, and we’ve got a great recipe to share. Excerpted from Lucy Buffet’s “Gumbo Love” recipe book, Summer Seafood Gumbo. Ignore the name, this gumbo is good year round.

Coastal Louisiana

Coastal Louisiana epitomes the Cajun French expression “Laissez les bon temps roulez,” or as we would say “Let the good times roll.” Historically, New Year’s celebrations overlap the Carnival season kickoff starting on the Epiphany (January 6) and continuing on through Mardi Gras beginning this year on Tuesday, March 1.

Planned Events:

A full listing of planned events can be found on each destination’s website. All events are subject to change.

  • Lafourche Parish is recovering from the impact of Hurricane Ida last summer, but Mardi Gras is giving residents of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou some reasons to celebrate. Here’s a complete list of the festivities scheduled for this year.
  • Located a short 40 minutes from the French Quarter, St. Tammany Parish is home to such quirky and unforgettable Mardi Gras parades as the Carnival in Covington Parade on March 1.
  • In Southwest Louisiana, the famed Iowa Chicken Run, an event that winds its way through the small town of Iowa to collect ingredients for a celebratory gumbo, is scheduled for March 1.

Celebrate at Home:

Old Fashioned Fairs and Food

            I love going to food festivals and state and county fairs and seeing what great home cooks both young and adult are doing. One such favorite that I never miss is the Berrien County Youth Fair in Southwest Michigan which always hosts an annual Baked Fruit Pie Contest, an event highlighting the lush and lovely fruit of the region.  The competition JulyAugust 2018 246features JulyAugust 2018 246threecategories—the Adult Division, the Youth Division and Most Eye Appealing which went to   Brianna Anthony for her Peach Blueberry Pie. The winners in the Adult Division were  1st Place:  Sandy Vorrath – Pineapple-Mango Crumb Pie, 2nd Place:  Chris Dohm – Baked Fresh Cherry Pie, 3rd Place:  Michelle Foxworthy – Blueberry Apple Pie, 4th Place:  Ruth Vorrath – Fresh Red Raspberry Crumb Pie and 5th Place:  Joyel Timmreck – Blueberry-Cherry Streusel Pie.

            In the Youth Division  1st Place:  Elise Barber – Strawberry Crumb Pie, 2nd Place:  Brianna Anthony – Peach Blueberry Pie, 3rd Place:  Clara Berry – Blueberry Pie, 4th Place:  Brianna Anthony – Cherry Almond Pie and 5th Place: Adrianne Barber – Cherry Pie.IMG_20180818_221234

            Sponsors were Kilwin’s, Lemon Creek Winery and the Eau Claire Fruit Exchange for donating the prizes for the baked fruit pie contest.IMG_20180818_221234

Sandy Vorrath’s Pineapple-Mango Crumb Pie

Filling Ingredients:

2 cored pineapples, chopped

1 cup chopped mango

1 cup granulated sugar

6 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup pineapple juice

½ teaspoon lemon juice

3 drops coconut extract

½ cup flaked coconut

Crust Ingredients:

1¼  cups all-purpose flour

½ cup butter flavored shortening

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon. powdered sugar

1 egg yolk

¼ cup iced pineapple juice

Topping Ingredients:

½ cup butter cut into pieces

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup chopped macadamia nuts

¼ cup flaked coconut

Crust:

Mix together all of the crust dry ingredients.  Cut in the shortening to make little crumbs.  Mix together the egg and pineapple juice.  Add to crust ingredients a  little at a time until the dough holds together.  Roll dough out onto a floured counter top to about 1/8 inch thick and fit into a pie plate.  Trim and flute the crust edges, put pie crust in the freezer until ready to use.IMG_20180818_214707

Filling:

Mix together the sugar and corn starch in a large cooking pot.  Add the pineapple juice and lemon juice.  Over medium heat bring the mixture to a boil.  Add the pineapple and mango chunks and bring mixture back to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add the coconut extract and coconut.  Mix well.  Let the mixture cool.

Topping:

Mix together the flour, sugars and cinnamon.  Cut in the butter until crumbs form.  Add the macadamia nuts and coconut.  After filling has cooled, pour it in the frozen crust and top pie with crumb topping.  Bake pie at 350⁰ for 40 minutes, or until pie is brown and filling bubbles.

Brianna Anthony’s Peach Blueberry Pie

Crust Ingredients:

¾ cup cake flour

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons salted butter

5 tablespoons shortening

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoon white vinegar

3 ice cubes

½ cup cold water

Filling Ingredients:

¼ cup quick-cooking tapioca pearls

4 medium-sized peaches, pitted and thinly sliced

1½  cups fresh blueberries

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Lemon zest

1 egg white

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon white sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375⁰

To prepare crust:

Measure butter and shortening on a plate, put in freezer for 20 minutes.

While butter and shortening are in the freezer, measure both flours, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl.  Mix until combined.  Put ½ cold butter and ½ cold shortening in bowl with dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Take remainder of the cold butter and shortening and cut into bowl very briefly, leaving visible pea-sized chunks.  Do not over mix!

In measuring cup, mix egg yolk and vinegar and add ice cubes and water.  Let chill 3- 4 minutes.

Sprinkle approximately 4-5 tablespoons of the egg/water mixture a little at a time and mix gently with fork.  Do not over wet the dough or over mix.  Place dough in plastic bag and chill in refrigerator for a few minutes.  Remove and roll out for pie.

Filling:

Brush the egg white mixture on the inside of the crust.  Finely grind the tapioca in a food processor for about 1 minute.  Combine the blueberries, peaches, brown sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon zest, and tapioca in a large bowl.  Add the mixed ingredients to the bottom crust.  Place a lattice crust on top of the pie.  Brush the top with egg yolk.  Stir together 1 Tbsp. of white sugar and ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon and sprinkle over the pie.  Bake in a 375⁰preheated oven for 55 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.

Elise Barber’s Strawberry Crumb Pie

1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon shortening

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

2 – 8 tablespoon ice cold water

2 pounds (about 4-4½ cups) strawberries, sliced

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup finely ground instant tapioca or tapioca flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

For Crumb Topping:

½ cup rolled oats

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup packed light brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon fine salt

5½ – 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Crust:

Cut shortening into flour and salt, using pastry blender, until particles are size of coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon. at a time, until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl.  Gather pastry into a ball.  Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface.  Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Brown Sugar Crumb Topping:

Put oats in food processor and pulse until oats are texture of coarse cornmeal.  Pour in a bowl and add flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir to combine.  Add melted butter and blend with fork until butter is incorporated and mixture gathers into small clumps (you may not need to add all of the butter).  Place bowl in the refrigerator and chill crumbs before topping pie.

Filling:

Preheat oven to 375⁰.

In a large bowl, stir strawberries with lemon juice, orange zest and vanilla extract.  Stir well.  Whisk sugar, ground tapioca, and cornstarch together in small bowl.  Combine sugar mixture with strawberries.

Roll out pastry according to size of pie plate.  Pour filling into pastry.  Top pie with , spreading in even layer and covering all fruit.

Place on baking sheet and put in oven.  Bake 25 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350⁰ and baked 25 to 30 minutes longer, or until juice bubbles up through crumb.  Top with foil if overbrowning.

Place baking sheet on wire rack and let pie cool overnight, uncovered at room temperature.

Wine Judging Announcement! The Indiana Wine Fair judging results are in!

 

Story Inn Wine Fair Kendal Miller (1)
Photo by Kendal Miller

What are the finest wines in Indiana?  The Indiana Wine Fair judges have just completed two days of sampling and judging. Here’s the verdict:

BEST OF SHOW:

Huber Winery, “Indiana Uplands Heritage” 2014

BEST INDIANA GROWN:

Huber Winery, “Indiana Uplands Heritage” 2014

Dry Red:

GOLD: Huber Winery, “Indiana Uplands Heritage” 2014

SILVER: Holtkamp Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

BRONZE: Ertel Cellars, American Cabernet Sauvignon

Tasting notes: This category was, surprisingly, the most competitive with the most submittals. Considering Hoosiers’ sweet palate, that was a pleasant surprise. The Gold was a runaway winner, an estate-grown, barrel-aged and bottled blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. It won Best of Show, and, by default, an extra Gold for being Indiana grown. We are at a loss of words to describe it with justice. We recommend buying several bottles to silence the rudest of California wine snobs. The Silver was a delightful find, being a small and relatively new and unknown winery. It beat some formidable competition, including Huber’s “Generations”. The Bronze, from Ertel Cellers, was beautifully structured and layered.    

Story Inn Wine Fair Kendal Miller4
Photo by Kendal Miller

Dry White:

GOLD: Huber Winery, Knobstone Vineyard Pinot Gris 2016

SILVER: Simmons Winery Sauvignon Blanc

BRONZE: Cedar Creek, “White Lie” American Pinot Blanc

Tasting notes: This was another competitive category. The Gold was a crisp, dry wine with a delightful nose and finish, Indiana grown. Serve this to your California wine snobs while they munch on a cobb salad. The Silver and Bronze were pleasant surprises from smaller wineries. 

Non-Dry White:

GOLD: Patoka Lake, Catawba

SILVER: Huber Winery, 2016 Indiana Uplands Vignoles

BRONZE: Ertel Cellars, Ohio River Valley Vidal Blanc

Tasting notes: Submittals ranged from semi-dry to sweet, challenging the judges, who looked for other qualities. The Gold was a delightful mouthful that spoke unmistakably of the Catawba grape, an American varietal. The Silver was a much sweeter version of the dry Vignoles, and, once again, the grape spoke to us unmistakably. The Bronze was a low-alcohol wine very palatable with food.

Non-Dry Red:

GOLD: Huber Winery, Sweet Marcella

SILVER: Harmony Winery, ‘Dark Star”

BRONZE: Simmons Winery, “Autumn Sweet Red”

Tasting notes: Once again, Huber’s flagship Sweet Marcella claimed the Gold. This category is the cash-cow for many Indiana wineries, and we were left with the impression that many were imitating Huber. The Silver was captured by Harmony Winery, which specializes in dessert wines (winning two of three on that category). Simmons claimed the Bronze with a very palatable pure Concord, another American varietal.  

Story Inn Wine Fair Kendal Miller8
Photo by Kendal Miller

Blush: 

GOLD: Urban Vines Winery, “Sweet Rose” Catawba

SILVER: Ertel Cellars, Ohio River Valley Steuben

Bronze: Winzerwald, Indiana Uplands 2015 Catawba Rose

Tasting notes: There was much competition in this category, since it included all levels of dryness. The Gold was a delightful Catawba, with sweetness that did not overpower the grape. The Silver was a Steuben with a lovely nose and finish; the Bronze was the driest of the three, very fruit-forward.

Non-Grape:

GOLD: Carousel Winery “Winter Spice”

SILVER: Patoka Lake Winery, Strawberry

BRONZE: Harmony Winery, Copper Tiger

Tasting notes: The Gold is an unusual mulled wine, best served heated. Very delightful, even in warm weather. The Silver was a sweet strawberry that screamed authenticity. The Bronze was an unusual flavored wine with a grape base, with hints of watermelon and cucumber, medium dryness.Photo by Kendal Miller

Story Inn Wine Fair Kendal Miller7
Photo by Kendal Miller

Dessert:

GOLD: Harmony Winery, “Black Forest”

SILVER: Harmony Winery, “Allegro”

BRONZE: Huber Winery, Knobstone Reserve

Tasting notes: The Gold was a rush of cherry and chocolate, to complement a fine meal. The Silver, from the same winery, was a close category second, with a delightful coffee nose and finish. Nothing subtle here. The Bronze was a traditional Port-style wine, elegant and not overpowering.  

All of these wines will be available for tasting or purchase on Saturday!

About the Indiana Wine Fair:

The 16th Annual Indiana Wine Fair is Saturday, May 12, at the Story Inn. This is one of Indiana’s oldest, and largest, wine festivals, and this year we will be expanding the event to include craft beer and spirits as well! Wineries/breweries/distilleries will be offering free samples and selling beverages by the glass, or bottle for carry-out. Gates open at 1 pm. You may buy your tickets online at www.indianawinefair.com. You must be at least 21 years of age to enter the festival premises. Bring a chair if you wish, but please no pop-up tents or coolers! We will have enough food to satisfy everyone’s culinary cravings.

Specifics:

Weather report for Saturday: Warm, mostly sunny, little chance of rain. All tasting will occur under tent, so the Wine Fair will go on, rain or shine.

Free Shuttle from Eagle Park two miles east of Nashville: Avoid the traffic and the scrutiny of the local constabulary. Shuttles will run between Eagle Park and Story from noon until 8 pm.  You may speed your entry by checking in at Eagle Park.

Free Parking near Story: As in years past, we will be offering free parking in a farmer’s field near Story.

How to avoid the construction on SR 46:

If you are headed west from Columbus on SR 46, you may avoid INDOT’s boondoggle entirely by taking Mt. Liberty and Valley Branch Roads to Stone Head. It will actually save you three miles of driving—enjoy!

If you are headed east from Bloomington, you might consider these two options: (a) take SR 58 east to SR 135 and arrive at Story from the south. It is less direct, but more scenic; or (b) spring for a park pass, and cut through the Brown County State Park by entering the west gate and exiting the Horseman’s Camp.  This will cut 15 minutes off of your commute, even under the best of circumstances. You may use that park pass at any of Indiana’s fine state parks, too!