Hotel Monteleone’s Criollo Awarded NOWFE Medal

Criollo’s Stone Ground Quajillo Chili Chocolate Tart

NEW ORLEANS –The Hotel Monteleone’s Creole bistro, Criollo Restaurant, has been awarded a silver medal for dessert at the 24th annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE).

         Fifty-seven participating New Orleans restaurants competed across six categories during a weeklong, city-wide tasting prior to NOFWE. The winners were revealed during NOWFE’s Grand Tasting event on Saturday, May 28, 2016.

         “Criollo’s culinary team takes great pride in developing and preparing innovative, fresh dishes for our guests,” said Gary Schwartz, Director of Food and Beverage for the Hotel Monteleone. “We are incredibly honored to have been chosen as the Silver Medal Winner at this year’s New Orleans Wine and Food Experience. An award of this caliber further establishes Criollo as one of New Orleans’ finest dining destinations.”

         Dishes were evaluated by a panel of 15 judges from local and regional radio, print and television media, including Gwendolyn Knapp of Eater New Orleans and Michael Harold of The Local Palate/ Inside New Orleans.

         Criollo Restaurant’s own Pastry Chef Minh Duong’s Stone Ground Quajillo Chili Chocolate Tart was selected for the silver medal, making Criollo one of five restaurants to be recognized for excellence in the dessert category and one of the 22 restaurants to be recognized for excellence in one of the six cuisine categories.

         This honor marks the second year in a row that Criollo Restaurant has been recognized at NOWFE. In 2015, Criollo received a gold medal for seafood (hot) category for its Grilled Shrimp Wrapped in Pancetta Arugula Salad Pomegranate Mostarda.

         The recipe for the 2016 silver award winning Stone Ground Quajillo Chili Chocolate Tart is as follows:



with candied blood oranges, ruby port, amarena cherry brulée


For the mousse:

– ½ c Quajilla chili stone

ground chocolate chips

– 4 ½ c heavy cream

– 2 c sugar

– ¼ c cocoa powder

– 2 T grand marnier


For the graham cracker crust:

– ½ c melted butter

– 2 c graham cracker crumbs


Method for mousse: Place 1/2 cup heavy cream in a small sauce pan over a low heat stove and turn stove off once heavy cream simmers. Stir in Quajilla Chili Stone Ground Chocolate until chips are dissolved. Set aside. Place heavy whipping cream, sugar, cocoa powder, and Grand Marnier in an electric mixer and whisk to hard peaks. Fold the Ganache into the Chocolate Grand Marnier whipped cream. Cover, and place in a refrigerator.


Method for crust: Mix ingredients well in a small bowl. In a parchment paper layered 8 x 10 square pan, spread graham cracker crumbs mixture. Place in 300 degree oven and bake for 7 minutes. Take out and let it cool down. Once cool, spread the mousse over the crust using a spatula to even it out. Cover with plastic and let it set in a freezer overnight. Cut frozen Mousse tart into 1×3 inch rectangles and place in refrigerator.


To plate: Place a piece of chocolate mousse tart on the center of a plate, garnish top with 1/2 slice candied blood orange. Spoon Ruby Port reduction on the side of the mousse. Spread Quajilla Stone Chocolate chips and sweet cocoa powder on and around chocolate mousse tart. Place six Amarena Cherries on the front side of the mousse, sprinkle with brown sugar and brûlée.


         Celebrating its fourth anniversary this summer, Criollo Restaurant offers a local ingredient-driven, seasonal menu of creative dishes inspired by culinary traditions with an appreciation for contemporary tastes.

         Located next to the famous Carousel Bar & Lounge, the restaurant resides inside the Hotel Monteleone. Criollo Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.

         Since 1886, the Hotel Monteleone has stood as one of the first landmarks in the famous French Quarter. The hotel is the Quarter’s largest full-service hotel, featuring 570 comfortable, luxurious guestrooms and suites, and is located 11 miles from the Louis Armstrong International Airport. Hotel Monteleone, a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts LVX Collection, is a four-time AAA Four Diamond award-winner, and has won Successful Meetings Magazine’s Pinnacle Award twenty-two times.

         For more information



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