By Chef Julie Biba


Augusta, NJ May 29-31, 2015

Michael Aronone's annual crawfish festival all started from a small group of people in New Jersey who were homesick for crawfish from Louisiana. It has evolved to be bigger and better for the last 26 years.

The menu served up at the festival has essential New Orleans favorites:

Crawfish Etouffe, Boiled Crawfish with corn and potatoes, Crawfish bread, crawfish pie, shrimp creole, Po-boys, Jambalaya, Red beans and rice (with and without sausage), Grilled alligator sausage, Char grilled oysters, boudin link (Cajun sausage with pork, rice and seasoning),Fried green tomatoes, pulled pork, shrimp and grits, BBQ’d shrimp, crab remoulade and Beignets just to name a few.

The first time I had crawfish was almost 20 years ago at my first time there.  Each of a dozen times being in Louisiana, I would eat crawfish at least one time a day.

CLICK HERE to view Culinary Chronicles: Where to Eat and Drink in New Orleans 2015

The smells at the festival took me back to my visits in the French quarter. The smell of Cajun and creole cooking in the air with the sound of Jazz, Zydeco playing in the background. Too many excellent choices to be able to taste them all but I had to try the crawfish etouffe (my favorite), crawfish bread and beignets. I was way too full to try everything.

The difference between Creole and Cajun food:   

Creole - Original settlers of New Orleans whose parents originated from France and Spain. Often referred to city cooking and more refined and delicate. Preparation has greater attention on using cream, butter, seafood, tomatoes and garlic. 

Cajun - Slang for Acadian. Descendants of Acadia now known as Nova Scotia. After banished for not giving up their French ways they settled in Southern Louisiana where French roots were already embedded. Lived off the land, enjoying crawfish, shrimp, quail, okra and peppers. Usually one pot meals.

CLICK HERE to view last month's Culinary Chronicles: Small Plates Sweeping the Nation

One way to tell the difference is the tomatoes. Usually if the dish contains tomatoes, it’s Creole. Creole gumbo has a tomato base and is more of a soup. Cajun Gumbo has a roux base and is more of a stew.

There were four stages where 24 music acts were playing at this year's festival. I didn’t know any of them but the food and music created a desirable atmosphere where everybody was friendly and the day flew by. is one of my favorite places to order from for crawfish. You can order live crawfish as well as alligator, turtle, shrimp, crab, cajun meats,  premade meals, seasonings, and other specialties.

This isn't the only crawfish festival around. In fact, there are festivals all around the country. It seems that New Orleans cuisine continues to spread with items like andouille sausage and po' boys popping up on menus all over the U.S.

Favorite quick crawfish etouffee recipe:

•             Prep Time: 30 mins

•             Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins

•             Servings: 4

"There are hundreds of recipes for Crawfish Etouffee. This is the old fashion way to cook Crawfish Etouffee. Very simple yet very flavorful."


o             1 (1 lb) bag peeled crayfish tail, not drained

o             1/2 cup butter

o             1 large onion, minced

o             1 large bell pepper, minced

o             2 stalks celery, minced

o             1 tablespoon minced garlic

o             1 teaspoon salt

o             1/2 teaspoon black pepper

o             1/2 teaspoon white pepper

o             1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

o             1 tablespoon flour

o             1/2 cup water

o             cooked rice


1.            In dutch oven melt butter over medium heat.

2.            Add onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic.

3.            Saute vegetables until soft, about 30 to 45 minutes.

4.            Add Crawfish tails and seasonings.

5.            Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

6.            Mix flour in water, stirring to make a smooth liquid.

7.            Add to crawfish mixture, cover and simmer for 10 more minutes.

8.            Serve on hot rice.



Food, music draw Crawfish Fest fans

By DIANA GOOVAERTS FRANKFORD - Buttery fingers and the sound of delta blues abounded Saturday at the Sussex County Fairgounds as county residents turned out to enjoy some New Orleans flair at the 26th annual Michael Arnone's Crawfish Fest.

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Crawfish Fest brings New Orleans to the Garden State

Published May 8, 2015 at 11:48 am (Updated May 8, 2015) AUGUSTA - Michael Arnone, a Baton Rouge native and his Crawfish Krewe are preparing to bring a piece of New Orleans to New Jersey with the Michael Arnone's 26th Annual Crawfish Fest.

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Gourmet Galley: Tails of summer: Great recipes just in time for crawfish season

New Orleans, /Features/Food/: S u mmer is crawfish season, and we're able to get tails at a reasonable price, so let's make a pot of Crawfish Étouffée, or a tasty Crawfish Spread, or maybe Crawfish Chajitas. This classic étouffée recipe is easy enough for a novice cook. Take the time

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Still hungry for New Orleans Jazz Fest? Find fest food all year long

The music is just a memory. The mud on your shoes has completely dried. The 2015 New Orleans Jazz Fest has ended. Did you walk away from the Fair Grounds still hungry for more? Check out these spots to find Jazz Fest dishes all-year long.

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Four Places To Get Your Crawfish Fix In NYC

Crawfish, crayfish, crawdads, mudbugs, baby lobsters...whatever you call them-regionally or made up in your head-the adorable crustaceans taste absolutely wonderful when boiled with sausages, corn and a bucket full of seasoning salt until they're bright red.

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Found: Spicy sausages from the South, locally made

What: Andouille sausages (pronounced: "an-DOO-ee") made locally with pasture-raised heritage pork. Why: These delicious smoky, spicy, slightly celery-flavoured sausages are key ingredients in Louisiana Creole gumbo or jambalaya, but they are also great in pasta dishes, with asparagus, in soups, or simply grilled and served on a bun, with hot mustard.

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Duck and Andouille Étouffée Recipe

Ingredients In a heavy-duty casserole over medium-high heat, heat oil and whisk in a sprinkling of flour. Continue to sprinkle in the flour until it is all used, whisking vigorously so that mixture is smooth and does not burn. Continue to whisk until mixture is a very dark brown color but is not burned; this may take 10 minutes or more.

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