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Everything you need for a Mardi Gras party spread

Whether you view Mardi Gras as a religious observance or an integral part of the culture of New Orleans (or both), one thing’s for sure: When you’re ready to "laissez le bon temps rouler," you’ll need to plan for big appetites, strong drinks and plenty of food and beverages to keep the party going. Here’s everything you need for a Mardi Gras party spread.

In this article: Mam Papaul’s King Cake Mix With Praline Filling, Solestado Muffuletta Olive Salad and  "Jazz Fest: The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival."

Mardi Gras 101

Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday," and both stand in for its more religious name, Shrove Tuesday. First celebrated in the U.S. in Mobile, Alabama in 1703, this day is usually marked with wild parades and parties that feature indulgence in food, drink and music.

Mardi Gras is celebrated before Ash Wednesday and signals the last hurrah before the 40 days of Lent. It’s also the final day of Carnival season. Even if they don’t hit the parade route and party all day and night, many people mark the day with some sort of celebration.

What makes a Mardi Gras party great

Mardi Gras is the last great blowout before  a traditional season of sacrifice and devotion. To make your Mardi Gras party the talk of the town, you'll need: 

  • Lots of food: People from New Orleans know how to eat. Make sure your party has plenty of traditional foods.
  • Plenty of drinks: Don’t hold back. Make big-batch cocktails in pitchers, or stir one or two house specialties up at a time in a cocktail mixing glass.
  • Vibrant decorations: From beads to streamers, festoon your house in green, purple and gold.
  • Great music: Go for jazz, zydeco or Cajun music to really set the vibe.

Traditional foods and drinks in a Mardi Gras spread

Traditionally, Christians across the globe were asked to eliminate meat, sugar and dairy from their diets during Lent, so it makes sense that the food and drink of these celebrations is rich, sweet and indulgent. 

No Fat Tuesday celebration is complete without:

  • King cake
  • Shrimp etouffee
  • Red beans and rice
  • Muffuletta
  • Gumbo
  • Hurricane
  • Sazerac
  • Daiquiri

And don’t forget the pancakes. Because butter, milk and eggs are forbidden in a Lenten fast, devout Christians served pancakes on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday to use up their supply. This is also where the tradition of the king cake arose.

Best products for a Mardi Gras party spread

Mam Papaul’s King Cake Mix With Praline Filling

This gives you everything you need to bake a delicious king cake right at home. This mix includes two boxes for two full-sized cakes that each have 12 servings. In addition to the mix, yeast and praline filling, three bags of colored sugar, glaze and a king cake baby complete this traditional confection.

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Solestado Muffuletta Olive Salad

You can’t have a traditional Mardi Gras feast without a muffuletta. Pile this chopped salad of pickled carrots, cauliflower, olives, peppers, celery, pepperoncini capers and garlic on crusty bread and cover with cheese and meat for the quintessential make-ahead sandwich. This is a generous 33-ounce bottle, so invite a crowd.

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"Jazz Fest: The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival"

This five-CD box set from the world-renowned New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival sets the tone. It features music that reflects the melting pot of cultures that makes New Orleans what it is. The set includes annotations and liner notes, plus photos from 50 years of festivals. 

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Circle Dots Garland Kit

You can get festive with these four strings of shiny circles. The double-sided cardstock is sturdy and coated with eye-catching, glittery New Orleans colors. They're ready to hang right out of the box, reusable and store flat. This product comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

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Viski Footed Glass Punch Bowl

If batch cocktails are on the menu, this punch bowl fits the bill. It has a glass foot to keep it stable and modern angled sides to keep it interesting. It holds 2.5 gallons of punch, with lots of room for ice and garnishes. 

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Joyin Toy 12-Pack Mardi Gras Masks

This pack of 12 masks features real feathers and blinking LED lights. They are traditional green, gold and purple and sized to fit adults. Each mask is powered by batteries, included in this value pack.

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Skeleteen Mardi Gras Beads Necklaces

Tell your guests to keep their clothes on and gather beads the easy way with 144 beaded necklaces in 12 vibrant colors. With a generous 33-inch length, these beads are made of nontoxic materials that have been tested for safety.

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Krosno Whisky Sour Tumbler Glasses

These 10.1-ounce glasses are substantial in the hand and perfect for a neat tipple or mixed drink. This set of six has a glossy, perfectly clear finish to highlight a fun punch color or fancy garnish, but it’s great as a water glass, too. The edges are reinforced and the bottom is heavy for durability.

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Epure Venezia Collection Hurricane Glass Set

You can enhance a classic by pouring your guests a hurricane in a proper glass. This set of four traditionally styled glasses hold 16 ounces of whatever you’d like to pour. They are study and dishwasher-safe, but hand-washing is recommended.

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PandaSew Hangover Kit Party Favor Bags

Friends don’t let friends have hangovers. Stuff these cotton drawstring bags with soothing tea, Emergen-C for energy and immune support, Pepto Bismol and ibuprofen for the morning after your banger.

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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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