Famous impromptu picnic slated for secret Boston location

Diner en Blanc in Montreal

Boston’s most elegant picnic-lovers will have their first ever “Diner en Blanc” Thursday night in a high class spin on the flash-mob trend.

About an hour before the seemingly impromptu group dinner, 650 ticket-holders will get word on where they will be dining.

“It’s about friendship. Except it’s not ‘who you know’ to get in, it’s about meeting people once you are in, and having a fun experience,” said Angela Giovine, one of the Boston-based organizers.

Diner en Blanc has grown over the past 24 years from an intimate picnic in Paris to an international tradition in several cities.

The common theme: white, wine, and well-fed palates.

“It is definitely about ‘higher and finer’ dining. We don’t want guests going to Subway and bringing a sandwich to (Diner en Blanc),” Giovine said.

Instead, organzers have encouraged guests to pack at least three courses, and leave the wine at home, since it will be offered at the event.

Some guests have opted to pick up catered picnic baskets from Boston’s Gourmet Catering at tonight’s event.

As for the garb, guests should plan accordingly, because if they don’t dress up, they’ll be booted out.
“The dress code will be strictly enforced. Elegance comes from order, and elegance is what it is all about,” she said.

That means no wife beaters, regardless of how well it is bleached, and no white denim, even though labor day is weeks away.

Guests will first convene at 17 meeting points around the city before being led to the secret spot. They will also shlep their own tables and chairs, which means the city won’t be tipped off by organizers setting up ahead of time.

While organizers hope the evening will come together seamlessly, the truth is the chic picnic is far from spontaneous.

Metro asked, “How do you keep the location such a large event a secret?” to which Giovine chuckled, “By not telling the media.” She said organizers also masked the name of the event while doing the city permitting.

“In the days of Twitter and Facebook, you can’t keep anything a secret. You really can’t tell anybody.”

By the numbers
  • 15: This summer, more than 15 cities worldwide on five continents have added their name to the Dîner en Blanc list. In the U.S., they are: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and of course, Boston
  • 31K: The launching of the first American Dîner en Blanc in New York City last summer drew over 31,000 people to the waiting list, however only about 1,100 got in.
  • 650: Only 650 lucky Bostonians are invited to the secret dinner, and about 2,000 hopefuls were on the wait list.
  • 24: The first Paris’ Diner en Blanc launched 24 years ago, when its founder François Pasquier assembled a group of friends. Now, nearly 15,000 Parisians attend the annual event.


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