Nutmeg believes that the celebration of Halloween is perfect timing for this post.
Trust the French to come up with an annual event that is sophisticated, classy, a bit rebellious and a whole lot of fun. Diner en Blanc started in 1988, when a group of 100 friends got together for a reunion in the Bois de Boulogne. The story is that François Pasquier instructed everyone to wear white in order to recognize each other. This was a brilliant idea, given those were the days before fancy cell phones, text messaging, Facebook and Twitter.
The annual event in Paris now attracts well over 10,000 people all wearing their favourite white outfits. Participants must register in advance and be prepared to carry everything; food, wine, tables and chairs. The date is fixed, rain or shine, however, the venues are kept secret until early evening. Enabled by modern portable devices and social media, the word gets out to attendees, and all of a sudden there is an impromptu dinner party, in a public venue.
Paris started the concept of a dîner en blanc, and now it has spread via copy-cat events, to chic cities like New York, Montreal, Quebec City and Chicago. Very sadly, it has not yet arrived in Calgary. However, Ginger and Nutmeg were present at the inaugural Dîner en Blanc Eygalières in 2011. Now that, Ginger owns white jeans, they plan to attend all of the future Dîner en Blanc evenings.
The memorable evening began with understated yet elegant white tables in a beautiful garden. Then, the guests arrived all dressed in white with their food and beverages of choice. A spontaneous picnic ensued with communal sharing of homemade salads, charcuterie, cheeses, fig tarts, fresh grapes and some other fabulous treats. The invitees were entertained by the accomplished The Sanders Band, who were all dressed in black for the occasion.
Nutmeg would like to share one of her favourite recipes from that evening. This is an easy recipe to honour the childlike simplicity of dressing up and having some fun.
- 1 Whole Pâte à tarte feuilletée, in North America you need to use a pastry shell
- ⅓ Cup Grainy Mustard
- 4 Medium Ripe Tomatoes
- To Taste, Salt and Pepper
- To Taste, Dried Herbes de Provence (or use a mixed Italian blend)
- A Sprinkle of Olive Oil
- Preheat the oven to 350F(180C)
- Open the pâte à tarte feuilletée and leave on the parchment paper that comes with the package. In North America you have the choice of using a Filo pastry or prepared pie shell (follow the instructions on the package)
- Spread the grainy mustard liberally over the pie crust
- Wash the tomatoes and cut into slices and then place on the crust
- Generously sprinkle the tomatoes with herbes de Provence, salt and pepper
- Pour a little bit of olive oil over the top
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden and the tomato juices have disappeared