Sugar and Spice: Aunt Sally’s Pralines

Pierre Bagur and Diane Jacquet, both second-generation New Orleanians of French Creole descent, married circa 1910, and in the early 1930s opened a shop in the French Market, selling items they felt represented the true charms and culture of New Orleans.

Bagur decided to make and sell pralines as part of this mission, and he named them after a praline seller he frequented as a child in the Dumaine Street neighborhood: Aunt Sally. The pralines, made with Louisiana sugar and Louisiana pecans, were cooked in a copper pot over a gas stove and then hand-ladled onto marble countertops to cool. The recipe and method today have not strayed from the way Aunt Sally’s Creole Pralines were made in 1935.

According to family lore, the pralines were not only sold out of the store, but also by their sons and young family members, who carried them in baskets to cemeteries on All Saints Day as well as other public gatherings. They were available singly or in packs of six or 12. Later distribution featured them driven around the French Quarter in mule buggies, packed in handmade cotton bales.

In the 1940s, Aunt Sally’s opened up a retail shop at 810 Decatur St., next to Café Du Monde, where they can still be found today. By the 1990s, however, they had outgrown their French Market production location and moved their offices and kitchen production and storage over to a warehouse at 283 Chartres St.

In recent years, Aunt Sally’s, still run by third- and fourth-generations of the Bagur family, has joined with other Louisiana companies to make even more delicious products. Collaboration with McIlhenny’s Tabasco has led to Sugar & Spice Pralines, and both Kleinpeter’s Bananas Foster Praline and Pralines & Cream ice creams are made with Aunt Sally’s pralines.

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