The email was mysterious. I was to wear all white (strictly no cream or beige), bring my own fold up table, white chairs, tablecloth and napkins and meet at the Carlton gardens on Saturday evening to be taken to a secret destination. It was my invitation to Diner En Blanc.
The event started 30 years ago in Paris and now Diner En Blanc events occur around the world drawing the same basic theme from the original Paris event. Diners wear all white (strictly no cream or beige), they bring everything for the dinner with them and when they leave pack everything up.
After a bit of last minute dashing around the city to secure some white pants for Meat-And-Three-Veg and to borrow the requisite fold up table and chairs from friends we headed to the Carlton gardens easily spotting everyone else dressed in all white getting ready to board buses. We looked a bit like a glamorous washing machine powder commercial. Off we set driving through the city to our mystery destination which turned out to be not that far away, Treasury Gardens.
There under the beautiful big trees rows were 2,500 people busily setting up tables and chairs preparing for the dinner as DJs played on a stage. It was organised chaos but somehow seemed to work. Once organised the signal for beginning dinner was everyone standing up and waving their napkins in the air. It was a spectacular sight.
Guests either brought their own food or ordered a hamper from Tommy Collins catering. We were lucky enough to score a hamper which was filled with tofu and shitake rice paper rolls, sushi and a faro salad to start.
There was a bit of a French theme to the rest of the food with smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels and ham and brie baguettes.
The sweet end of the meal was catered for strawberry macaroons, brownies and a white chocolate lamington alongside cheese of course. It was great picnic fodder. Although seeing some other peoples homemade creations including the most amazing croquemboche tower it was hard not to get picnic envy.
Moet Chandon sponsors the event so we were treated to the champagne house’s Ice Imperial champagne which is served poured over ice. Alcohol is the only thing you can’t bring yourself and everything needs to be pre-ordered which is worth bearing in mind.
Once night fell the tables came alive with everyone waving sparklers – the signal that it was time to hit the dance floor. The funny thing was that there was no sneaking off early as it would be a bit obvious if you packed up your table and chairs. There was also no chance of gatecrashers despite the event being held in a public park in the middle of the city as their non white attire would have been easy to spot. This combination meant everyone seemed to really let loose for the night and enjoy meeting new people.
The next day I walked past the Treasury gardens and there was no sign Diner En Blanc had ever happened. Apart from my photos and rather grubby white dress the whole night felt like it was a dream.
Gourmet Chick was a guest of Diner En Blanc.
Details: Diner En Blanc occurs once a year. You have to register for the event in advance in order to secure an invitation.
Damage: Budget Breaking. Tickets are $127 a person and you then have to buy drinks and buy or bring food as well.