What started out as a small picnic in Paris is now an annual event in ‘secret’ venues internationally. On November 28th 2015, Sydney held its fourth Dîner en Blanc. With Sydney harbour’s spectacular landmarks as a backdrop, the exclusive night out combined food, friendship and fun.
The invitation process
To gain access to this event in Sydney as a newcomer, you must either be invited by a previous attendee (member) or be on the waiting list and succeed in booking one of a few hundred tickets during their release. With thousands of people on the waiting list, chances of getting through are quite slim. But I somehow got lucky and secured membership for myself and an invitation for a guest.
We are given an extensive list of suggestions for the event. From what not to wear, to furniture, crockery and decor for the table. Finding all-white items can be a little challenging, but with a bit of preparation, you will discover that there are a lot of white things out there!
Revealing the ‘secret’ venue
The mystery surrounding the venue adds a bit of intrigue to the event. My selected meeting / departure point was Wynyard station. We were provided with train tickets and instructions to alight the train at Circular Quay station. It narrowed down the list of possible venues in my mind, with any one of them potentially being spectacular.
From the direction we were headed once at Circular Quay, it was evident that the secret venue for 2015 was to be in front of the magnificent sails of Sydney’s Opera house.
After a couple of hours that involved catching a train, lots of walking and waiting, security checks, searching for our group’s location, and setting up our table, we were finally seated.
The customary twirling of the napkins followed a minute’s silence for the victims of Paris’ recent tragic events. This indicated the start of dinner.
We had pre-ordered a picnic hamper from the organisers that had more than enough food for two. It was a delicious selection of French inspired dishes which included a pork and pistachio terrine, ocean trout salad niçoise and salted caramel eclairs.
The lighting of the sparklers marking the opening of the dance floor (or steps of the Opera House) followed dinner and was magical to witness.
The atmosphere was indescribable. We chatted to people during the evening, danced on the steps of the Opera house and were in absolute awe of the size and significance of the event. The views of the forecourt and the harbour from the top of the Opera House steps were breathtaking. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will remember.
We left a little before it ended at midnight feeling tired from the whole experience (transporting a table, chairs and picnic supplies can do that). But would I do it all again next year? Absolument!
For more on the history of the event, see my previous post Le Dîner En Blanc.
See the Dîner En Blanc International website for information on events in your area.