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A bluffer's guide to Diner en Blanc

Feb 19, 2016 etc

French-inspired, chic picnic Diner en Blanc returns to Auckland next weekend, taking over one of the city’s most picturesque and unexpected locations for an ephemeral evening of posh dining.

Like all good traditions, the 30-year-old phenomenon has a few rules that help retain the evening’s magic year-on-year. If you’re keen on getting in on the Instaspectacle this year, now’s the time to do it, registrations close this Monday evening. There’s a unique ticketing process that favours past attendees, and all sorts of other rules that we’ll tease out for the uninitiated.

  1. It’s who you know

    We’ve all been trained by Depot to expect that if you arrive early enough and wait long enough, the rewards will be great. Same goes for Diner en Blanc. If you attended in previous years you’ll get first dibs on a ticket. If you didn’t, find a friend who did as they can send you a special invitation code. If you can’t, then join the ever-growing waiting list and hold your breath.

  2. The location is top secret

    And is kept secret until the very last minute. Guests are led to the location in groups of around 100 on coaches, trains, ferries and by foot, creating a spectacle as they journey across the city like glamorous fireflies.

  3. BYO table

    And chair, “pristine white tablecloth”, fine china, champagne flutes, candles and flowers. Yeah, it’s fancy, huh?

  4. BYO dinner

    Pack your own gourmet picnic, or purchase a Parisian-inspired hamper. Wine and champagne must be pre-purchased through the Diner en Blanc website. Ice-cold Champagne Mumm and Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are all available.

  5. BYO ice bucket

    Mumm tastes best at 8 degrees. Fill your bucket to the three-quarter mark with cold water, and then add ice leaving a 10cm gap to the rim. An ice bucket is for one bottle and one bottle alone!

  6. Wear white

    Only white. You’ve probably understood that by now. Of course, tennis whites don’t count; the dress code is “elegant and always tasteful but with individual flair”, which definitely means now is the time to try pulling off a top hat or cravat. Not sure if that logic extends to creepy mime gloves.

  7. Bring a white umbrella

    Diner en Blanc rules dictate that the event carries on rain or shine.

  8. Be ready to wave your napkin

    Once everyone’s seated, that’s the ceremonial “tuck in!”.

  9. Be ready to wave your mini firework

    At sunset, the iconic lighting of sparklers signals the end of dinner and opening of the dance floor. Maybe those mime gloves would be handy after all?

  10. Be a tidy AND classy Kiwi 

    And leave no trace behind, packing up all tables and chairs and disposing of all rubbish before you leave.

Diner en Blanc, 27 February. Tickets $48.



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