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Enfin, le Diner en Blanc !


Finally, the pop-up picnic from Paris… has launched in Melbourne

Last night it was this city’s turn to host the global trend of white pop up picnics – the inaugural le Diner en Blanc Melbourne was held on the edge of the CDB… an eagerly-anticipated event for many elegant and adventurous Melbournians. True to DeB tradition, the location was a tightly-held secret until the very last minute… the 1000+ guests had to be ready and waiting to board buses and trains for arrival at 630pm… armed with tables and chairs, linen, crockery and stemware, picnic hampers and accessories (all in white, bien sûr). Even their guides, greeting guests at meeting points around the city – were kept in suspense until just before departure !

The weather was perfect – a bright sun came out as guests arrived, light breeze floated off the Yarra River, a round moon ascended as the evening wore on… At 730pm we had the traditional napkin wave (a sea of white linen…) and later, after dusk, thousands of sparklers were lit – which seemed a signal for the DJ to turn up his ‘amp a notch or two (and the dance floor soon overflowed…) One young gent was brave enough to make his marriage proposal in front of cameras, to the delight of his intended bride and a crowd of (very vocal) supporters. Perhaps it was the romance and bonhomie of this event which put that fellow on his knee (and her acceptance) – hopefully there are no regrets today (it’s hard to go back on that public promise !)

We’ve been a big fan of the DeB concept for some time, watching from afar as the Parisians celebrate over 25 annual events, and other cities have joined the international DeB family. Sydney was the first Australian location in 2012, closely followed by Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane. We made a special trip to the harbour city in November 2013 for their Bondi Beach event… awesome, memorable, great fun. And we were hooked !

A local trio applied to le Diner en Blanc international to host this Melbourne event, and were awarded the rights from 14 other team applications (at least one of those unsuccessful contenders was there last night to experience the launch, no hard feelings…) Many have queried why it took so long to bring this event in Melbourne – surely an obvious choice with our great love of food and wine, unusual and elegant events… Who knows why it didn’t happen sooner – the guys who put this on last night only had a few months to prepare (I believe an earlier contender had been awarded but must’ve pulled out sometime last year ?)

Pop up picnics are not new to Melbourne – the World’s Longest Lunches have been happening for years (this month it’s in over 20 regions around Victoria, part of the annual Melbourne Food & Wine Festival). But the DeB picnic is a little different… it is relatively inexpensive (around $45 to attend, although that’s only the entry), has the aura of mystery and some adventure (secret location, BYO everything), it is certainly exclusive (from now on, you must be on the previous DeB guest list or friend-of-a-friend to win an invitation) – and somehow the whole white thing just makes it special.

I stood on the perimeter, by the Yarra path for a while last night, just watching… Passers-by stopped to enquire what’s going on, who’s getting married ? Well, no one on the Melbourne Exhibition Centre lawn last night – but it seems at least one couple might be busy planning their big event (a white wedding perhaps…) soon !


Diner en Banc Melbourne start Diner en Blanc Melbourne collapsed croquembouche

Diner en Blanc Melbourne sparklers Diner en Blanc Melbourne pop up picnic

images :  popUPshopsMelbourne


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