New Orleans is often referred to as a “European city” and with good reason. Throughout our French Quarter neighborhood, you’ll find the influences of Spanish and French architecture. Each December, you’ll also find another European influence: the Christmas tradition of Réveillon in New Orleans.
Each holiday season, many New Orleans restaurants partake in this luxurious tradition by offering a special menu, including our very own Criollo Restaurant. Predictably, the food is delicious and the feast is festive, but do you know the history and birth of the Réveillon in New Orleans?
History of the Réveillon in New Orleans
The tradition of Réveillon meals in New Orleans began in the 19th century. Creoles living in New Orleans adopted the tradition from the Europeans and celebrated the “Réveillon,” a French word meaning “awaken.” The name comes from the early hours of the morning in which the meal traditionally took place.
Families would gather on Christmas Eve and attend Midnight Mass together. Christmas Eve would be celebrated with a daylong religious fast which the Catholic Creoles would break once they returned home from church.
The meals after mass would be expansive and elaborate with chicken and oyster gumbo, game pies, soups, souffles, lavish desserts, brandy and coffee. Catholic Creoles would then celebrate a second Réveillon on New Year’s Eve, an affair even more elaborate than the Christmas Eve celebration.
Réveillon 2021 at Criollo
Today, Réveillon meals in New Orleans are now celebrated throughout December leading up to Christmas Day. You don’t have to stay up past midnight to indulge in these meals in modern times. And now all are welcome to join in on the feast!
Hotel Monteleone’s own Criollo Restaurant offers a prix fixe brunch menu during the month of December in honor of Réveillon. At $45 a person, this exclusive 4-course menu includes a fantastic array of dishes at a price that’s too good to pass up.
Let’s take a look on this year’s Réveillon brunch menu at Criollo!
DUCK & RABBIT TERRINE – Sicilian pistachio, sun-dried cranberry, Anjou pear, arugula, 3 wine glee, honey-dijon emulsion
BUTTERNUT SQUASH BISQUE – Pumpkin seed gremolata
POACHED PULLET EGG & FRIED GULF OYSTER – Crystal pearls, frisse, lardons, focaccia crouton, cider vinaigrette
HAZELNUT CRUSTED TRIGGERFISH – Autumn lentils, watercress sauce, saffron créme fraiche
GRILLED ROCK CORNISH HEN – Granny Smith apple, flame raisin, cornbread croutons, cherry balsamic reduction, ginger-scallion sauce
PEAR & APRICOT BOUCHE DE NOEL – Candied chestnut anglaise
2021 Réveillon Cocktails
In addition to Criollo’s dining menu, a special Réveillon on the Rocks cocktail menu will be available for guests to enjoy – crafted by the world-class bartenders from our very own Carousel Bar & Lounge!
HOLIDAY SIDE CAR – Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Ferrand Dry Curacao, lemon juice, honey syrup, sparkling wine
RÉVEILLON BUTTERED RUM – Dark rum, honey syrup, Earl Grey tea, Steens butter
Treat Yourself to Réveillon Brunch at Hotel Monteleone!
Criollo’s Réveillon brunch will be served throughout the month of December. To make reservations, please call (504) 681-4444 or make a reservation online.