Summer in and around New Orleans is a symphony of flavors, where each dish tells a story of tradition, family and the vibrant cultural tapestry of the region. The cuisine here, influenced by Creole, Cajun and Southern culinary practices, offers a journey through the tastes of summer. From savory seafood boils to sweet homemade treats, the food of New Orleans evokes a sense of nostalgia and communal joy.

The proximity to the Gulf of Mexico means that fresh seafood is a staple in summer diets. One of the most cherished traditions is the seafood boil. This communal feast involves boiling shrimp, crabs, crawfish, corn on the cob, red potatoes and andouille sausage in a pot seasoned with a mix of Cajun spices. The result is a flavorful, aromatic spread often laid out on newspaper-covered picnic tables. Family and friends gather around, using their hands to peel and eat the seafood, creating a lively and convivial atmosphere. The seafood boil is not just a meal; it’s an event that brings people together, embodying the spirit of Southern hospitality.

Another summer favorite is the oyster roast. Freshly harvested oysters are roasted over an open flame until they pop open, revealing their briny, succulent goodness. Served with melted butter, lemon wedges and hot sauce, oysters are a treat that brings back memories of beachside gatherings and coastal festivals. The simple act of shucking and eating oysters outdoors connects people to the coastal traditions of the region.

No summer meal is complete without a selection of sweet treats. Peach cobbler is a quintessential dessert, with its warm, gooey filling and buttery crust. Made with fresh, ripe peaches and often served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, peach cobbler is a comforting end to any summer meal. The aroma of baking cobbler wafting through the house is a nostalgic reminder of family dinners and summer evenings spent on the porch.?

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Boiled shrimp with corn and sausage

Boiled Shrimp

1 (4-ounce) bottle Crab and Shrimp Boil

1 head garlic, unpeeled with top cut off

2 lemons, cut in half

1 medium yellow onion, cut in half

3 ears fresh corn, husked

1 pound small red potatoes

1 pound andouille sausage, sliced

2 pounds large shrimp, unpeeled

1. Fill a large stock pot halfway with water. Stir in garlic, lemons, onion and Crab and Shrimp Boil. Cover and bring to boil over high heat.

2. Cut the corn into thirds and set aside.

3. Once the water comes to a rapid boil, add corn, potatoes and sausage to the liquid, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes.

4. Add shrimp, cover and cook for cook 4-5 minutes, until shrimp are pink and cooked through. Drain and serve on a large platter.

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Peach cobbler with whipped cream

Summer Peach Cobbler

Best served warm. Makes six to eight servings.

2 large fresh peaches, peeled and sliced

1 1?2 cups sugar, divided

1?2 cup butter, melted

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1?4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 dash cinnamon

1 dash nutmeg

3?4 cup milk

Whipped cream or ice cream, optional

1. Mix peach slices with 3/4 cup sugar, set aside.

2. Pour butter in 8-inch square baking dish.

3. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining sugar.? Stir in milk until just combined and pour over butter.

4. Top with peaches and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Kevin Belton is resident chef of WWL-TV and has taught classes in Louisiana cooking for 30 years. The most recent of his four cookbooks, "Kevin Belton's Cookin' Louisiana: Flavors from the Parishes of the Pelican State," was published in 2021. Email Chef at chefkevinbelton@gmail.com.