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Published: December 2011
Celebrate the Holidays New Orleans-Style with a Reveillon Dinner  

The holiday season is filled with many different traditions. Some of those may be caroling, baking cookies (and other treats), driving around to see the lights and more. Some traditions may have been passed down from generation to generation, while others may be new.

And even some destinations tend to have their own holiday traditions, too. In New Orleans, one happens to be Reveillon dinners. According to history, these dinners were introduced by Creole families in the 1800s and were a celebration of sorts.

“They are similar to having a late dinner after a ball,” says Liz Williams, president/director, Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans. “It was a way for adults to celebrate after putting their children to bed. Dinner would start at 10:30 or 11 p.m., and by the time dessert and Champagne was served, it was either Christmas morning or New Year.”

“It was an all-night get-together/celebration.”

She adds the dinners are still done in New Orleans, not only because it’s a tradition (which is very important to the city), but also “they’re so fun and so pleasant.”

However they are not only limited to homes anymore. Throughout the month of December, numerous restaurants offer a Reveillon dinner menu as well, like Mat and Naddie’s.

The restaurant has been offering their Reveillon dinner menu since 2005. Steve Schwarz, owner and chef, says the multi-course menu ($40) follows the ground rules for the dinner.

The focus of the Reveillon dinner is a game dish and a shellfish dish. Mat and Naddie’s menu offer both as choices for appetizers and entrees.

Taking the menu a step further, the dishes, aside from the venison, are all regional or New Orleans-ish. Schwarz points out the lump crab (“nice this time of the year) comes from the Gulf, as well as the Drum. The sauce piquant served with the Drum is an old New Orleans sauce made with the local brewery’s ale.

The meal ends with another classic – white ginger bread spice cake.

“Our menu features all warm, wintery dishes with some regional components to them.”

photo: courtesy of New Orleans CVB

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