There’s lots of food I look forward to eating when I visit New Orleans, but believe it or not, the thing I crave most is a mufuletta from Central Grocery. (Also spelled muffaletta) Sure, you can get a decent mufuletta at dozens of respectable restaurants in NOLA, but none I’ve tried holds a candle to the real deal they serve up at Central Grocery. What is a mufuletta, and what makes the best mufuletta in New Orleans?
What Is a Mufuletta, Anyway?
Famed New Orleans chef, Emeril Lagasse’s website says, “The muffaletta originated in New Orleans purportedly at Central Grocery where it is still made today. The sandwich is made with Italian charcuterie and a spicy Creole olive salad.” Well, technically that’s correct, but it doesn’t come close to describing the essence of the best mufuletta in New Orleans.
What Makes Central Grocery’s Version the Best Mufuletta in New Orleans?
I wish I knew what makes Central Grocery’s the best mufuletta in New Orleans. Some say it’s the bread – a soft Italian sesame bun about the size of Rhode Island. It’s made locally by hand in New Orleans, and I haven’t found anything remotely close in my search of other areas. Others believe it’s the olive salad that makes Central Grocery’s the best. After all, it’s a special family recipe handed down for three generations. You can purchase jars of this amazing Italian olive salad at Central Grocery, or order it online.
Specifically, Where Can I Find the Best Mufuletta in New Orleans?
Central Grocery is located in New Orleans’ French Quarter at 923 Decatur St. They’re open each day at 9:00 a.m., but close early at 5:00 p.m. You can also order them online from the Central Grocery website (link above). And don’t worry about your mufuletta arriving all soggy and stale – the best muffuletta in New Orleans actually tastes better with age. Letting it set for a day allows the juices from the olive salad to soak into the bread making your mufuletta taste even better.