Le Dîner en Blanc : Careful with that Red Sauce

Diner en Blanc 2015. Photo Y.M. Ruzilo. Diner en Blanc 2015. Photo Y.M. Ruzilo.

In a city that has elevated the humble french fry into a poutine comes another food tradition that turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. The annual Dîner en Blanc, the White Dinner, turns a picnic into an elegant affair. 5000 diners dressed in white are brought to secret locations in public places by bus or metro to enjoy a home-made (or catered) meal.

Diner en Blanc 2015. Photo Y.M. Ruzilo.

Diner en Blanc 2015. Photo Y.M. Ruzilo.

The formality of the event is part of the fun and gives it a genteel feel. The rules are clear: All guests must dress elegantly in head-to-toe white. This means no ivory, no off-white, and no beige. Guests must bring their own white chairs, white picnic basket, white tablecloth and white napkins. They of course must bring their own folding table, cutlery, dishware, and a garbage bag as well. Guests always come in pairs and the seating is usually (but not necessarily) arranged with men on one side of the tables and women on the other, in imitation of French court society.

During the event, table leaders assign the participants seating. Guests must wait for the entire row to set up their dinner before taking their seats. When the dinner finishes, sparklers are lit and the dance floor opens.

Diner en Blanc 2015. Photo Y.M. Ruzilo.

Diner en Blanc 2015. Photo Y.M. Ruzilo.

Since not everyone has the time or the skills to prepare an elegant picnic diner, there is an option to purchase catered meals provided by one of the three Grand Chefs who offer a delicious sounding gourmet basket. Jérôme Ferrer of Europea’s basket includes white truffle popcorn, smoked salmon roulade, foie gras, and tartelette. , Antonio Park of Park has ginger beef dumplings, crispy salmon maki and jap chae on his menu. Lily Sirikittikul of ChuChai vegan restaurant’s basket includes crispy enoki mushrooms, lemongrass chicken, black pepper duck, and chocolate macaroons.

Diner en Blanc 2015. Photo Y.M. Ruzilo.

Diner en Blanc 2015. Photo Y.M. Ruzilo.

Registration for the event sells out quickly, however. Previous participants get first dibs, with the official registration starting on July 17. Click HERE to register. The event takes place on August 17.

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About Rachel Levine

Rachel Levine is the big cheese around here. Contact: Website | More Posts