It’s official. I have finally scored a seat at the table… for Diner En Blanc. And not just any Diner En Blanc – Baltimore’s Inaugural Edition of the popular all-white dining experience. It’s taking place this Saturday, July 15th and I cannot wait to attend!
Along with the beautiful aesthetics of the event, amazing food and conversations with friends, I love the simplicity and sustainability model of Diner En Blanc. As a former Senior Policy Advisor for the US Department of Energy, I am probably a bit more hyper-vigilant about sustainability than most people. But spending over ten years in environmental law will do that to you. I will forever be a crusader for energy and the environment. For many people, a party is just that – a party. But it can also be an opportunity for extreme waste – from decorations to serving ware. Which is why Diner En Blanc is such a wonderful example of elegant, eco-friendly partying.
For those unfamiliar with the event, Diner En Blanc is an all-white pop-up dinner party that was developed by Parisian François Pasquier over twenty-five years ago. As the story goes, François had been away from his many friends for a long period of time and came up with the idea as a way to dine with everyone he’d missed. Since then, Diner En Blanc has developed into a highly-coveted, multi-city, international event.
At many dinner parties, serving ware is disposable for the convenience of the host. But only certified compostable products will break down within a 180-day period. For example, the average paper plate can take up to 5 years to decompose. Additionally, if the paper plate is stained with grease, it is often not recyclable. And plastic fairs far worse, with the average plastic bottle taking 70 to 400 years to decompose, and plastic bags taking 500 to 1000 years to decompose. For Diner En Blanc, there is no paper or plastic allowed. Real dishes take center stage for this picnic, which also adds to its elegance. Cloth napkins are generally donated by a sponsor or guests bring their own. And the event space—a public outdoor space—must be left exactly as it was found.
Adding to the fun (and sustainability!) of Diner En Blanc is that the party takes place in an undisclosed location. Guests do not know where the dinner party will “pop-up” until they arrive by bus.
Also, guests are required to bring everything needed for the dinner portion of the event. I am baking my infamous sour cream pound cake as a contribution to my table.
I look forward to sharing my first Diner En Blanc experience so stay tuned!