Dîner en Blanc: An Exquisite Affair

ELEGANT ... MYSTERIOUS  ... FUN ... 

...  are the three words that I would use to describe this international culinary and cultural phenomenon.  

How It Started
In June of 1988, François Pasquier organized a picnic with his friends in Bois de Boulogne, a gorgeous public park in the 16ème arrondissement of Paris, and to find each other, he asked all of his friends to wear white.

Twenty-five years later, this refined pique-nique has become so popular that it continues to grow worldwide and in numbers. This year 13,000 attended in Paris, 5,000 in New York City, 5,500 in Montreal and 4,500 in Philadelphia.

Present Day Primer
Today, it is typically in the summer and after a three-phase registration process,  thousands of individuals congregate at a secret location (normally a central place within the city) on a specific day (depends on the city), which is literally discovered as you metro or walk to the designated lieu. Invitees are dressed in white from head-to-toe, carry their tables, chairs, centerpieces, and a picnic basket filled with a gourmet meal to be shared à deux or with the entire table (some bring sweet and savory bites to share, which is a kind and smart way to say hi to old friends and meet new acquaintances.) And throughout the evening, there are traditional elements that kick off certain activities such as dinner. At the end of the day,  this experience is supposed to be about human collaboration and connection.

2015 Dîner en Blanc - Washington, D.C. Version
Last Saturday night marked the nation's capital second annual Dîner en Blanc and it was incroyable! More than 2,700 individuals - fashionistas, foodies, politicos, students and socialites - stylishly dressed in white (along with supplies of the same color) descended upon this year's secret (and beautiful) venue - Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square.

Orchestral music filled the air as group and table leaders helped direct people to their spots. Scrambling to set up, attendees rapidly decorated their tables and area (which ranged from simple elegant bouquets and candelabras to contraptions that allowed lights to hang), picked up their  pre-ordered wine or champagne (sponsors this year were Reims, France-based Lanson and Modesto, California-based Apothic) and laid out their respective menu du jour

 After everyone was settled in, the mood lightened and attendees partook in the napkin twirl, which officially kicked off le dîner. The three-course dinners that night varied from antipasto skewers and cheese and charcuterie platters as appetizers,  colorful sushi to quiches to grilled meats as entrées and macarons, canelés and chocolate sweets as desserts. As cameras were flashing and conversations amongst new and old friends occurred, night fell which meant one thing - sparklers. Everyone lit their own creating a gorgeous and ethereal scene. Dance beats by the skilled DJ Sabeel Chohan took over the earlier soft symphonic tunes and got everyone dancing and posing for more pictures until the end of the night on the steps of the over 200-year-old historic library.

Words can only say so much, so here are some photos  (all were taken by me unless otherwise credited)  from this unforgettable French-inspired evening.

The Departure - Dupont Circle Metro

 Delectable free baguettes from  GoldCrust Baking Company .

Delectable free baguettes from GoldCrust Baking Company.

The Venue - Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square

Setting Up

Champagne and Wine Sponsors of the Night

White Hot Fashion

 My best friend Laetitia (also one of this year's great DeB group organizers) and I.

My best friend Laetitia (also one of this year's great DeB group organizers) and I.

 Nicole and Calla (my tablemate this year).

Nicole and Calla (my tablemate this year).

 My good friend Katya and I.

My good friend Katya and I.

 My friend Ashley.

My friend Ashley.

 A guest (I just loved her white fan).

A guest (I just loved her white fan).

 The lovely couple - Uhlan and Laetitia.

The lovely couple - Uhlan and Laetitia.

 My friend Joelle, Jillian and Canon. (Photo credit: Joelle)

My friend Joelle, Jillian and Canon. (Photo credit: Joelle)

 Another great couple - Philippe and Katya. (Photo credit: Katya)

Another great couple - Philippe and Katya. (Photo credit: Katya)

 My friends Christelle and Jean (one of the fantastic table leaders). (Photo credit: Christelle)

My friends Christelle and Jean (one of the fantastic table leaders). (Photo credit: Christelle)

The Napkin Twirl

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Various Tablescapes  

 My table with Calla.

My table with Calla.

 My friend Cecilia's table.

My friend Cecilia's table.

 Joelle's table. (Photo credit: Joelle)

Joelle's table. (Photo credit: Joelle)

 Katya and Philippe's table. (Photo credit: Katya)

Katya and Philippe's table. (Photo credit: Katya)

Dinner Scenes

 Photo credit: Joelle

Photo credit: Joelle

Tasty Bites - Sweet and Savory

 Delicious mini prosciutto, mint and melon skewers made by Laetitia. 

Delicious mini prosciutto, mint and melon skewers made by Laetitia. 

 Cecilia's incredible raspberry and rose roulade.

Cecilia's incredible raspberry and rose roulade.

 Yummy macarons from  Olivia Macaron .

Yummy macarons from Olivia Macaron.

Sparklers

 Photo credit: Calla

Photo credit: Calla

Dancing and Posing

 The talented DJ  Sabeel Chohan .

The talented DJ Sabeel Chohan.

 Fun posing with friends Christina and Holly.

Fun posing with friends Christina and Holly.

À l'été prochain!

Food Truck Friday - Swizzler Foods

Food Truck Friday - Swizzler Foods

Summer Sets In Well At Blue Duck Tavern

Summer Sets In Well At Blue Duck Tavern