Houmas House is a Destination for the Lover of Many
As seen by Princess Maggie
Houmas House enjoys seeing visitors from all walks of life, all parts of the world and all ages. These folks all have varying reasons for wanting to visit this grand estate. From the gardening clubs, to the foodies to the history buffs, we strive to provide the perfect experience for all who visit.
I hope you will make 2018 the year to seek what you love and explore Houmas House.
For the Lover of Food
Food lovers, both local and abroad, love experiencing the culinary side of Houmas House. Our fresh vegetable and herb gardens provide inspiration for seasonal specials- a true farm to table experience. With three restaurants to choose from visitors can choose to linger over a ten course tasting menu in a fine dining atmosphere, or casually enjoy the largest seafood po-boy they’ve ever seen in our lunchtime café. Whichever choice you make, it’s guaranteed to be a culinary experience you won’t forget.
For this Valentine’s issue, enjoy this recipe for Red Velvet Bread Pudding!
Red Velvet Bread Pudding
Red Velvet Cake:
2 cups sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ounces red food coloring
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar
Bread Pudding Mix:
3 cups half-and-half
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Greased 9 by 13 by 2-inch sheet pan.
In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter, beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and mix well after each addition. Mix cocoa and food coloring together and then add to sugar mixture; mix well. Sift together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla.
In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture. Pour batter into the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from heat and cool completely. When the cake is cooled, cut into 1-inch cubes.
Place cubes onto 11 by 17-inch cookie sheet. Place in oven for 10 minutes.
Bread Pudding Mix:
Combine the half-and-half, eggs, egg yolk, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl. With an electric hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the half-and-half mixture.
Place the red velvet cubes in a large baking dish or 8 individual ramekins. Add the pudding mixture to the dish. Make sure the cake cubes are completely covered. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the pudding is set.
For the Lover of Antiques
It wouldn’t be possible to fully tell our story without the antique furniture and artifacts throughout the mansion. From the Houmas Indian figurines from the early 1800’s to the Prudent Mallard beds, each piece tells a story from our 240 year-old history.
Some artifacts are a display of wealth, while others prove how hard it was to live without the modern conveniences we have today.
For example, displayed in the mansion dining room is a rare champagne carafe only afforded by the wealthy. It was used during lavish dinner parties stretching over many courses where the discussion was of politics, war, cultivation of sugar cane and local gossip.
In contrast, displayed and demonstrated in the original kitchen dating back to 1774, are antique tools and “appliances”, showing how labor intensive brewing a pot of coffee was, starting with roasting the coffee beans for hours. None of these stories would be complete without these artifacts- some dating back to the 1790’s.
Much of the artwork throughout the home depicts what every day life was like, from the landscapes to the portraits we see how much has changed in our surroundings and in fashion.
The Houmas House story is much more than just a home tour. Once visited, one has a better understanding of the culture and the history along the Great River Road and specifically of Houmas House.
For the Lover of Gardens
Many guests are intrigued by the guided mansion tour and learning the Houmas House history. But every guest is surprised and impressed by the formal gardens spanning across 38 acres. Replanted seasonally, the Gardens of Houmas House provide another dimension to this estate. With usually mild winters, florals thrive year round providing art-like colors, textures and designs wrapping around historic Live Oak trees, gracing large arbors and outlining winding pathways.
Three greenhouses are needed to propagate new plants, readying them for the upcoming season. Landscape photographers, brides to be, families and garden enthusiasts alike all enjoy the backdrop of these gardens.
Even our restaurants enjoy the use of our vegetable and herb gardens which provide seasonal items to serve daily.
For the Lover of Architecture
Many plantation homes in South Louisiana showcase Greek Revival architecture featuring wrap around porches and large columns. This appealing design with a symmetrical layout is not only pleasing to the eye, but it also served a purpose. When all the doors and windows were open it created a natural wind tunnel and helped circulate fresh air coming from the Mississippi River.
The Houmas Mansion went through about 14 owners over the last 240 years, each making modifications until the estate became what is today.
For guests interested in architecture the spiral staircase is a spectacular structure stretching three stories high. Taking two years to complete, it was once a free floating staircase and made completely of Cypress wood. The wood was soaked in the Mississippi River until it was pliable, then slowly it was curved into the shape it is today.
Each addition to the home reflected the personality of its owner, and showed the evolution of architectural design throughout the decades.
Help Us Name Our Swans and Win!
A pair of white swans have made the reflection pond at Houmas House their new home. This male and female spend their days gliding through water and frolicking with the ducks. But these poor love birds have no name. That’s where you, our readers, come in! Help us name the swans and be entered to win an overnight stay at The Inn at Houmas House, Dinner for Two in the Carriage House Restaurant, Mansion Tour Tickets for Two and one Houmas House Coffee Table Book. Don’t wait- entries will be accepted until February 10th and a winner announced on Valentine’s Day!
Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Houmas House
This year we are offering our special Valentine’s Day menu for multiple days, giving you several days to celebrate with your Valentine at Houmas House. Both Latil’s Landing and The Carriage House Restaurant at Houmas House are accepting reservations and will have these special menus for the following days: