Last night Neil and I had the good fortune to be able to attend Diner en Blanc in Calgary.
What exactly is Diner en Blanc? The tradition started in Paris, France over 25 years ago and has expanded to several locations world wide. It is a chic, pop up picnic held in a public space that you don’t know the location of until you are on your way. There are several rules around the event such as your entire attire must be white, you must bring a square white picnic table and chairs, and much more. Last year I was able to secure a spot to the picnic via the wait list so Neil and I were keen to attend again this year.
We loaded up a picnic basket and somehow or other got everything to fit inside a Car2Go and made our way to our meeting location.
It was really neat to see the crowd of people all dressed in white grow, and the surprised looks we got from people wondering what on earth was going on. Finally shortly before 6:00 we were told it was time to make our way to the picnic, although we still didn’t know exactly where it was!
We took the C-train a few stops, but then had to walk about 10 – 15 minutes to get to the spot, Eau Claire Park by the Peace Bridge. We found the spot for our table quickly and got set up.
In Calgary you have the option to purchase a meal if you wish, however the tradition is to bring your own picnic. You are to bring an appetizer, main and dessert. In Calgary our liquor laws prohibit bringing your own wine to the event so we had to pre-purchase any wine. We also got two bottles of Evian or Badoit mineral water. Beer and liquor is prohibited. For our appetizer we brought some charcuterie: pig’s head mortadella and lamb ham from Charcut, pate, cheese, mustard, rhubarb compote and a fresh baguette from Corbeaux Bakehouse.
For our main I had picked up duck confit from the Calgary Farmer’s Market that Neil had seared off earlier in the day. We had marinated mushrooms and a white bean salad on the side. Dessert was a caramel and a chocolate Napoleon, plus a blood orange macaron, all from Corbeaux.
Dinner officially starts with a wave of your white napkin once everyone is seated.
We had beautiful warm and sunny weather and we had a great spot in the shade from a large tree. The only colour you are allowed on your table are the flowers you bring, so I picked up some bright and cheerful sunflowers. The milk glass bud vase was from our wedding.
I liked this year’s location. We were close to the iconic Peace Bridge, plus we were right off the busy Bow River pathway so there were a lot of people walking past and wondering what was going on.
Neil and I had a lovely time and got to know some great people seated next to us.
Hopefully we will have an opportunity to do this again!
Looking to get inspired for your own Diner en Blanc? Check out my Pinterest board!