by Sophie Gayot
Have you ever dined dressed all in white right on the car lanes of Rodeo Drive in the heart of Beverly Hills? Presumably not, unless you were among the 1,500 participants of the first “Dinner in White” that took place last night in L.A.
Started in 1988, 25 years ago, in Paris — I attended one of the first ones back in the day — Diner en Blanc has now gone international. Brush up on your French and listen to an interview with François Pasquier, the co-founder, and his son Aymeric, co-founder of Diner en Blanc International. In my exclusive video they explain the etiquette to follow in order to be a part of this incredible dinner party.
It was funny to see the passersby wondering what big event was being celebrated on one of the most famous streets in the world, which was closed for the occasion. No doubt they could see that everyone was having a great and elegant time.
Since it is a French event, Gilles Amsallem’s French Tuesdays was one of the organizers as well as The Bordeaux Wine Council. The council was showcasing two reds, a rosé, and of course, two whites: Château Bonnet, Entre-Deux-Mers 2012 and Saintglinglin, Bordeaux 2012. Two hundred lucky guests won bottles, as well as a Bordeaux ice bag, two acrylic wine glasses (which I find very useful), and a corkscrew.
Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Diego, New Orleans, Seattle and Memphis will soon have their own white dinner parties, after New York.
Vive la Fête et Vive le Vin!
In case your French is limited:
What are the key rules of the event?
• Dîner en Blanc is quite different from other special events. The seating layout on the public site is very specific and the site chosen is typically in one of the most beautiful parts of the city, where diners can “see and be seen.”
• In order to participate, guests must be invited by a member from the previous year or get on the official website’s waiting list.
• Once confirmed, each guest’s participation becomes mandatory, regardless of weather conditions, as the event goes ahead rain or shine.
• Color of attire and table setting: white only.
• Participants arrive and depart by chartered bus or organized public transit.
• Guests leave with their belongings, leftovers and litter, leaving the place as clean as it was when they arrived.
What must guests bring?
• A table, two (white) chairs.
• A picnic basket comprising quality menu items and a china dinner service including proper stemware and flatware.
• Wine or champagne. Beer and hard liquor are prohibited. (Note: varies by city, as some cities require diners purchase wine and champagne on site)
• Participants must wear white and be dressed elegantly.
• Originality is encouraged as long as it is stylish and tasteful.
Additional details on rules and regulations can be found on the official website http://dinerenblanc.info/.
You can click on each photo to enlarge. Photos © Sophie Gayot