For 25 years, all over France, people—thousands of people—have been organizing what has come to be known as Dîner en Blanc. The event, which seems to operate as an elegant sort of flash mob, takes place several times each year. Since 1988, the event has popped up in cities all over the world. Up to 10,000 guests gather in one place, all dressed in white, to dine together under the stars. To commemorate its 25th year, organizers are bringing the event to L.A. this August 21.
Dîner en Blanc describes itself as a pop-up picnic. Those who wish to attend must apply online. Not everyone will get an invitation; thousands of people are on the list but only 1,000 are expected at L.A.'s next Dîner en Blanc.
Each invitation details the event's location and logistics. Diners must bring their own "gourmet picnic," tables, chairs, drinks, and servingware.
To get a better sense of what to expect at such a novel event, we chatted with travel publicist and avid cook Lisa Cohen, who attended last year's event.
"I knew nothing about it, or what to expect. You just show up to a location, you have to bring your own food and tables. I had no idea what to expect, so I threw things together at the last minute. But people really went all out.
Some people brought chandeliers, they made elaborate seashell centerpieces, they brought fine china and silverware. It felt very special, like a wedding. There was lots of crafty touches; it was like living in pinterest in real life.
"For food, some people brought buffet-style dishes, lots of people brought baguettes to pass around. People made beautiful tiered cakes and tarts. Some people brought buckets of fried chicken and coleslaw. Lots of people brought Mozza2Go. There was a three piece band. At the kick off, the tradition is that you stand up and wave your white napkin and that's how you know to start eating. And then everyone finished the night dancing."
So, what to bring? From our recipe archives, a suggested menu, perfect for a late-summer's eve.
➻ A-Frame’s Furikake Kettle Corn
➻ Kevin West's Cucumber Dill Spears and Chips
➻ Post & Beam's Kale, Beet, and Watermelon Salad with Smoked Goat Cheese, Toasted Almonds, and Orange Vinaigrette
➻ Superba Snack Bar's Muffaletta Sandwich
➻ Night+Market's Moo Satay Nom Kon (Condensed Milk Pork Skewers)
➻ Hatfield's Nectarine Crostata
Dîner en Blanc Los Angeles, official site.