For the past six months I have heard (non-stop) about a mysterious dinner in Melbourne where everybody wears white and waves napkins and sparklers. In my mind, it was like a great Vestal Virgins convention, only with Champagne, not fire and sacrifices. I was pretty excited to see that Dîner en Blanc was really all about when it came around again this year (disclaimer: no sacrifices were performed that I am aware of).
My first challenge was finding something white to wear. Once that obstacle was overcome (splendidly) it was time to head to the secret location – released only prior to the start time. This year’s DeB was held at the Docklands, with the Melbourne Star lighting up the night sky behind us and the CBD lights before us. Before it was dark it already felt magical.
We were advised by organisers to bring some food as only a ‘light dinner’ would be provided. Boy am I glad we ignored that advice because a ‘light dinner’ to the French apparently means a selection of cheeses with bread and lavosh, ham and brie baguettes, roast beef sandwiches, shrimp pasta, lentil salad, salmon with glass noodles, lamingtons, macarons and chocolate brittle. Yes, the food was so amazing I have memorised the selection (an impressive feat considering the amount of Champagne drunk). Before we begun to eat we witnessed the traditonal waving of the napkins – a marvellous sight as hundreds of white-clad picnickers stood and waved their napkins joyously before sitting down to eat.
After eating. giant sparklers were handed out and we again saluted our meals – this time in a sea of sparkling light. We then headed over to the dance-floor where we partied the night away, helped by singer Chloe Maggs, bottles of bubbles, and a meringue tower that was doing the rounds.
Dîner en Blanc was amazing and lived up to Theresa’s six month ravings. Although it begun in France and is held worldwide, to me it is a quintessentially Melbournian event. It is exclusive, secretive, and comes with a dress code. It feels like part picnic, part family get together and part outdoor party and I can’t wait until next year’s Dîner en Blanc to do it all again.
Charli is a creative writer, food lover, and Harry Potter aficionada in her last year of a History degree. She is sure she will find a way combine these things one day, to great success. If not, she’ll pack up and become a bartender somewhere in the Caribbean with a fabulous year-round tan.