Words by Ursula Terlecki Photos by A. Bartula and Michelle Lemmon
Last night I was part of a mass group who braved the rain to participate in Toronto’s first official Diner en Blanc (Dinner in White). It started off a bit wet but the experience quickly turned to a majestic evening with 1,400 guests.
A chic and sophisticated pop up picnic, this unique food experience was started in Paris, France in 1988 by Francois Pasquier (check out our previous post) with a goal of sharing a delicious meal with friends, in a public space, with a touch of elegance and secrecy.
Twenty-five years later, the event has taken place in 15 cities around the world including: Kigali, Singapore, Barcelona, Mexico City, New York, and Montreal. This year in New York City, Diner en Blanc had over 30,000 entrants competing for 1,000 available tickets. Yikes!
At around 7pm, 18 coach buses and three walking groups converged at Fort York, a top secret location that participants were unaware of even upon boarding the bus. It was a sight to behold, everyone draped in white (adding to the exclusivity of the event) carrying their own chair, table, and picnic basket filled to the brim, all eager to enjoy a three course meal with hundreds of Torontonians.
Elegant was the name of the game with baseball caps, sweatpants, ripped jeans, t-shirts, and anything disposable (including cutlery, napkins, dinner wear, glasses, tables and chairs) out of the question.
As for the food – it was a mix of simple and sophisticated – some guests stuck to the basics with baguettes, cheeses, cold meats and olives, while others went all out with mains consisting of lobster and shrimp.
Was there a lot of prep work that went into this event both from the organizers as well as the participants? Absolutely! Would we recommend you sign up NOW and try and participate next year? For sure! Rain or shine this event is something you should definitely experience.
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