Dîner en Blanc hits Brisbane

Over the last week, anticipation was building up for Dîner en Blanc around Brisbane. What is this event that all the cook kids keeps talking about all over Twitter?

Well, Dîner en Blanc is a huge, elegant pop-up, invite-only event which requires participants to dress fabulously in white, bring your own tables and chairs (also white), your own food and cutlery all at a particular meeting point to get whisked away to a secret location.

Okay, so I got a bit bitter when I realised HOW MUCH WORK was involved in this event. For a non-own private transport person, I really struggled to get things together. Even down to making things ‘cost effective’. I had to ask favours from the Ex to drive me to Bunnings to buy folding chairs and a table. Of which I had to spray paint the chairs to make them white. And in typical Kelly-situation, I of course don’t get enough spray paint so had to hunt down a hardware store with spray paint – this was another challenge/story in it’s own right which involved hardware stores that DON’T sell spray paint.

Nevertheless, I perserved to make everything work out because I knew that this was the type of event worth making the effort for. No half-hearted attempts here.

And you know what, I was right.

The 1st of September, the first day of Spring. My meeting point was at New Farm Park where we were loaded onto bus. There were various other pick up locations around Brisbane to deal with the sheer numbers. We resembled elegantly-dressed patients of a mental hospital under the bright fluorescent lights of the buses. I was amazed that almost everyone was loaded onto the bus well before our estimated departure time. A sign of the thorough organisation by the leaders as well as the eagerness of all the participants. Typically any large-scale event usually ends in delays.

Off to the local mental institution… or Diner en Blanc.

Leaks via Twitter (it was bound to happen) reveal the location is the Cultural Forecourt at South Bank well before we leave. No matter, everyone holds onto the magic that will revealed when we arrive. Plus, it was still fun to laugh at people in ‘normal’, coloured clothes. Like we were part of some sort of amazing inside joke. We were.

Arriving, everyone quickly sets up. We are the last to arrive and other tables have already begun to tuck into their food. We are suffering from food envy. The scene was spectacular. Over 1000 people participated that night (6800 were on the waiting list!). Clothes, tables and decorations all in white. It was a beautiful sight, next to the Brisbane River and the Wheel of Brisbane. What an iconic location for the first Diner en Blanc in Australia. Sydney and Melbourne will be expecting their turn in upcoming months.

White, white, white!

I chose to provide our own food.

To start: triple cream brie, jamon serrano, prosciutto, balsamic and rosemary kalamata olives.

Entree: Scotch eggs with aioli.

Main: chorizo, spinach and feta quiche.

Red wine, 12-month-aged chorizo, spinach and Danish feta quiche.

Dessert: mini reversible pineapple cakes.

We waved white napkins to signal the beginning, although this didn’t work too well. Other tables had already begun to eat. But nice formality. We power through the food and enjoy some live music in the background. At 9pm, we lit up sparklers. What an amazing sight. Not long after the party starts as a makeshift dance floor on the grass sets up in front of a DJ.

Yay for sparklers!

All in all, a spectacular night making new friends (I went without knowing anyone and a few Twitter friends I’ve made along the way), enjoying good food and embracing the love for our city. I can’t wait to attend next year’s event – now that I have all this white stuff I’ll never use – plus I’ve already been guaranteed a spot for next year 😉 If you want to be involved next year, sign up to the waiting list now – www.brisbane.dinerenblanc.info

See you next year.

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