This year 5,000 New Yorkers participated in the surprise gathering. As tradition dictates, guests arrive in all white to a well kept secret location that is only revealed 2 hours before the picnic starts, with the option to either bring their own tableware with charcuteries, cheeses and wines, or can opt to buy in to the catering element from GP for a box of picnic staples, five ways.
Do you know
what Diner en Blanc is? I found out last week that it still is possible to be a
seasoned New Yorker and not actually know, or to even have heard of, this grand, elegant, silly, boozy, theatrical event.
“I wish you had told me I should be wearing all white,” Alyssa Ringler, our photographer that night, said to me.
“Well I’m glad we didn’t. I can pick you out of the crowd. Probably would have walked around for at least an hour before finding you if we had.” I said.
Some thirty years ago, in 1988, Parisian man Francois Pasquier planned a small get together for friends in Paris’ Bois de Boulogne. All attending were to wear white so they could find each other once they all gathered at this public space, where, in the time before Google Maps pin-drops, you’d have to just…look.
Diner en Blanc, though humble in it’s beginning, has grown internationally and is celebrated by roughly 10,000 people annually. Pasquier’s son, Aymeric, recognized the real draw of the picnic was concentrated on not knowing exactly where to go, who was going, and only to look for the most recognizable all-white outfit to figure it out.
“A lot of people like the secrecy,” he said in a recent interview with New York Daily News. “The surprise is less charming if you already know where it’s going to take place.”
And what was the highlight? A massive seaside lawn party twirling their white napkins overhead to wave au revoir to a tugboat as it pulled away from the harbor, lit by a full moon, French gypsy-swing jazz playing from the sound stage, as people cheered and tapped glasses to celebrate the moment.
New York City
Poached Salmon, everything crème fraiche
Half sour pickles
Chilled yogurt farm greens
Toasted corn and cherry tomato
Bagel chips in a bag
Must have cheesecake parfait, chocolate swirl,
BBQ beef brisket, black jack BBQ sauce
Jalapeno Creamed corn spoon bread
Katchkie Farm Vegetable succotash
Green Goddess Cole Slaw
Black eyed pea salad
Sunday church supper peach cobbler
Cold farm chicken breast, Hainan style
Dun Dun noodles, cold peanut-sesame sauce
Mapu Tofu, fermented black bean sauce
Thai shiitake mushrooms, scallions and sesame
Steamed coconut milk pudding, sliced mango
Bok choy slaw, sliced ginger and orange
Plants and Earth
Black chickpea dahl,
Whole wheat garlic naan, curried yogurt raita
Fresh shucked corn salad
Roasted heirloom mixed beet salad, pistachio vinaigrette
Late summer heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers, fattoush style, Roasted peach and shaved fennel salad
Bitter chocolate brownie, espresso chantilly
Hazelnut Brown Butter Financier Bites
Selection of Salumi: Prosciutto, Speck, Salami and Duck Confit Roulade,
Whole Grain Mustard, Marinated Olives, Housemade Pickles, Crostini,
Dried Apricots, Grapes, Strawberries,
Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with Basil, Sea Salt and Olive Oil, Minature Chocolate Chip Cookies and Brownies.