Raleigh, N.C. — I'm from New Orleans and I am always a little homesick this time of year. But there isn't any reason why you can't celebrate Mardi Gras in the Triangle!
Fat Tuesday is officially Tuesday, Feb. 17, and I've got a guide for you to enjoy Mardi Gras in the Triangle!
Here's a list of local places offering King Cakes - the official food of carnival season:
Note: I have not found a place that serves an authentic New Orleans King Cake. For one of those, you will need to order from New Orleans. I prefer Haydel's Bakery but there are a ton of options out there.
La Farm Bakery (Cary) - Their bread is awesome! The King Cakes aren't filled, but they are pretty good.
Whole Foods and Lowes Foods (various locations) - Check with the bakery section to find out if you can order one or when they will be available.
Stick Boy Bread Company (Fuquay-Varina) - Haven't had one of their King Cakes yet, but know they do offer them.
Balcazar Bakery (Raleigh) - This International bakery serves up traditional Colombian King Cakes. They are filled with fruit and contain some cream on top. Good, but not like the traditional New Orleans' King Cakes. Much less sugar.
Great Harvest Bread Company (Raleigh) is also taking orders for King Cakes.
And if you want to try to make a King Cake yourself - here is a great recipe that isn't difficult and gives you that King Cake flavor without all of the work:
Mardi Gras events in the Triangle
Durham Mardi Gras - This has become the official Mardi Gras celebration in the Triangle. And it grows every year. Starting at CCB Plaza in downtown Durham, the walking parade begins at 7 p.m. and then takes Foster Street to West Geer Street. Following the parade, there will be live music at Motorco, Fullsteam, The Bar Durham, Geer Street Garden, Cocoa Cinnamon and The Pit. The festivities are free! (UPDATE: This event has been postponed due to weather.)
More Mardi Gras events in Durham and Chapel Hill:
Samedi Gras at Scrap Exchange - The Bulltown Strutters are going to entertain during this family-friendly event Saturday (Feb. 14) afternoon featuring food, fun and fab! Tickets are $5 and the party is from 1- 5 p.m.
Valentine's Gras - Durham Mardi Gras presents this event Saturday (Feb. 14) at Motorco Music Hall. Tickets are $10 and the party starts at 8 p.m.
Southern Season's restaurant Weathervane will host its Fat Tuesday Soiree on Feb. 17 form 5 to 9 p.m. There will be a selection of themed small plates, festive drinks and live jazz!
2015 Brazilian Carnival in Durham - It's not Mardi Gras, but it is carnival! Motorco Music Hall in Durham will hosts this event that will feature Brazilian cuisine and drinks.There will also be live music. Admission is $15 at the door.
Fayetteville Street will celebrate Fat Tuesday on Feb. 17 with food trucks, artisans, music, street performers and more. The fun is scheduled to be happening from noon to 10 p.m. by The Big Easy. UPDATE: Due to the threat of inclement weather, this event has been moved to Feb. 28.
Carolina Nightlife Mardi Gras Bar Crawl - This Friday night crawl takes you to five bars in Glenwood South - all for one price and no lines!
Brazilian Carnival Party - Solas will host this party Saturday from 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. with live samba dancers, drums and a DJ.
Wake Forest Mardi Gras - The town of Wake Forest will host its annual Mardi Gras Street Festival on Saturday. The event is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include a walking parade, contests, live music and an inflatable playground. Admission is free.
Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball - This fundraiser includes a three-course meal inspired by New Orleans-cuisine, plus unlimited wine, beer and soda. The Moore Square Dixielanders will provide music. There will also be door prizes, a parade and a costume contest. All proceeds benefit the educational programs of Historic Interpretations, Inc., a North Carolina non-profit dedicated to education through first-person interpretation of historic characters. Semi-formal or costume attire is requested; masks are optional.