While Southerners are in agreement on one thing—the fact that pralines are delicious—they find themselves divided on another praline-related issue: pronunciation. These melt-in-the-mouth, butter-and-brown-sugar confections are Southern-favorite treats from Savannah to San Antonio and every town in between. The spoken word, though, is another subject entirely.
The confection dates to the 18th century, when it grew in popularity in Louisiana and took inspiration from French roots and Creole cuisine. They can be tricky to make, but the ingredients are basic and the results are delectable. Southerners may encounter any number of versions of the word “praline,” but it seems that there are two widely held schools of pronunciation here. One is “pray-lean.” That’s a favorite pronunciation in Georgia and surrounding states. The other is “prah-lean.” That’s what you’re most likely to hear in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast. Also, we’re sure someone somewhere has taken it upon themselves to pronounce the word “prah-line,” but that seems to be a lesser-heard phenomenon in the South.
Much like the word “pecan,” the word “praline” sparks pronunciation debates across the Southern states. Pick up a pecan praline, and brace yourself—with so many variations of both words, who knows how it’ll sound? Have you encountered any other pronunciations? We’re especially curious to know the last syllable of the word is also a point of confection contention.
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No matter how you pronounce it, praline is a favorite sweet and a flavor profile we love to add to dishes across the pages of our cookbooks. Make your own using our easy-to-follow recipe, and also be sure to try our Crispy Praline Cookies, Blackberry-Peach Cobbler with Praline-Pecan Streusel, and Praline Rugelach for a few praline-speckled sweets Southerners are sure to love.
WATCH: Master the Art of New Orleans-Style Pralines
So, what’s your verdict? Is it praline or praline or something in between?