Dîner en Blanc – Okanagan

Diner en Blanc Okanagan 2014 - TheCulinaryTravelGuide.com

Last night I had the good fortune to be invited to an official Dîner en Blanc – the world’s largest secret dinner party. If you’re not familiar with this worldwide phenomenon, it’s part flash mob, part pop-up dinner…and a whole lot of fun. Here’s how the event organizers define the concept:

At the last-minute, the location is given to thousands of friends and acquaintances who have been patiently waiting to learn the “Dîner en Blanc’s” secret place. Thousands of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in a public space.
Over the course of an evening, the diners enhance the function and value of their city’s public space by participating in the unexpected. Beyond the spectacle and refined elegance of the dinner itself, guests are brought together from diverse backgrounds by a love of  beauty and good taste. Le Dîner en Blanc recalls the elegance and glamour of court society, and diners engage one another knowing they are taking part in a truly magical event. There are no disruptions: no car traffic, no pedestrian traffic, except for the occasional amazed and astonished looks from passersby at the scene unfolding before them. And we, as they, wonder whether it’s all not a dream…(source: Diner en Blanc – Okanagan)

Last night in Kelowna, where thousands translated to exactly 850, it looked like this:
Diner en Blanc Okanagan 2014 - TheCulinaryTravelGuide.com
And this:
Diner en Blanc Okanagan 2014 - TheCulinaryTravelGuide.com
And also this:
Fresh flavours at the Diner en Blanc Okanagan 2014 - TheCulinaryTravelGuide.com

Our picnic was a virtual showcase of the fantastic, fresh, farm-to-table fare the Okanagan Valley is known for. Val Harrison from More Than Burnt Toast brought a light and lovely tomato-goat cheese tart, as well as a spinach salad with a variety of edible flowers from Old Meadows Farm. Dina from Olive Oil and Lemons served the moistest grilled chicken breasts topped with farm stand tomatoes, along with a potato-green bean salad with pesto that brought back fond memories of dining on Trofie al Pesto, alfresco, in the Cinque Terre. (Dina’s husband, George, brought wit, charm, and two strong arms to carry our picnic supplies. Thank you, George!) My contribution was a Puglian barley salad with Pecorino cheese (recipe HERE) and, for dessert, a riff on Eton Mess with chewy meringue, lemon curd, blueberries, blackberries, and cream.

Getting an invitation isn’t easy. (For the 2014 New York City Dîner en Blanc, about 25,000 disappointed people were left on the waitlist.) If you’re lucky enough to snag one next year, answer with a great big YES! It really is a fabulous party!

Diner en Blanc Okanagan 2014 - TheCulinaryTravelGuide.com

About the Author

Laura Goyer is a world traveler and culinary travel professional on a mission to help busy prime-time women find the best local food when they travel.

11 thoughts on “Dîner en Blanc – Okanagan

  1. Dina says:

    Although I had a couple of “do we have to this ” moments they were soon forgotten as we were immersed in the white fantasy and visual feast that le diner en blanc represents. I am already on the list for next year. What’s on our menu next?

    • Laura Leigh Goyer says:

      I’m not on the list but I have high hopes of being invited again by one of my fantastic foodie friends. And if I do, I’m hoping to have the cheese course we didn’t have room for on Thursday. It was so tempting! 🙂

  2. Dina says:

    So, are we getting the Eton Mess recipe as well? I will link to it from my D en B post (in progress). I am linking to the delicious Puglian barley salad. Will fdefinitely make that one.

    • Laura Leigh Goyer says:

      Sure! I followed a recipe from Epicurious to make the meringue and lemon curd, then made a berry compote with 1-pint blackberries, 1 1/2 cups blueberries, 2 T sugar, and juice from 1 lemon, then whipped 2 cups heavy cream. Then I spooned layers into mason jars in this order – berry compote, lemon curd, crumbled meringues, whipped cream – until the jars were full. With the smaller jelly jars, you would probably only need 1 cup heavy cream.

      I’m looking forward to your post!

  3. Jody and Ken says:

    How bizarre, I never even saw that you used our Puglian Barley Salad until I read the comment above. How many people were you serving? Not everyone, I hope. Thanks for the kind words. Ken

    • Laura Leigh Goyer says:

      Oh no – I could never dice enough fennel to feed 850! I was serving it as a side dish for four and we had enough leftover for my lunch for the next two days. I don’t know what it is about that salad (the chewiness?) that makes it so much better than many grain-based salads. Anyway, it was a big hit!

      Thanks for stopping by Ken. With all the changes to the site taking up so much time over the last few months, I haven’t had much time for reading, or even writing. Moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org was a picnic (we were speaking of picnics, weren’t we?) compared to changing the name of the blog. Be grateful you made such a great choice with yours 🙂

  4. Pingback: Great Food & Wine in the Okanagan Valley

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