|Le Dîner en Blanc Sydney, 29 November 2014, McKay Field, Centennial Park|
We managed to celebrate both the end of spring and start of summer at Dîner en Blanc over the weekend - the third annual Sydney event of the Parisian guerilla picnic phenomenon that's popped up all over the world.
|A sea of white in McKay Field|
Dîner en Blanc has grown substantially since landing in Australia, with the wait list for an invite ballooning after the first year. This year's Sydney outing, at the secret location of McKay Field in Centennial Park, hosted 4,000 picnickers all dressed in elegant white as is the DeB tradition.
|Guests arriving to the secret location|
We entered the Randwick gates of Centennial Park and saw glimpses of our eventual destination, which was reached on foot through a picturesque tunnel of paper bark trees.
I didn't know McKay Field, our picnic location, even existed till this weekend. Somewhat closed off on three sides by rows of trees, it forms a rather secluded, sheltered meadow of Centennial Park not far from the Duck Pond. For DeB, the space was encircled by five huge, white illuminated rabbit sculptures which also made an appearance at this year's Vivid Sydney festival.
|Seppelt Wines table, dressed in white and ready to go|
The Seppelt Wines table was set with a white tablecloth, mismatched chairs and fresh white flowers in jars - and of course, plenty of chilled Jaluka Chardonnay and Great Western Riesling (and Piper Heidsieck bubbles to start).
|Other diners setting up their tables|
I spotted lanterns and baby's breath flowers galore, as well as helium balloons and even live white goldfish - and of course the DeB-essential white cloth napkins at every spot.
|Seppelt Wines table|
|White on white on white|
|(clockwise) Rosemary and chilli focaccia, pickled vegetable and dips&|
Tartly pickled cucumber, carrot and crunchy cauliflower completed the picnic-friendly grazing quartet of plastic tubs.
|Potted shrimp and antipasti|
|Seppelt Jaluka Chardonnay|
|Pasta salad with prosciutto and char grilled lamb on burghul salad|
The first was a farfalle pasta salad with parsley and green beans, topped with three folded ribbons of prosciutto that were divine to devour on their own.
The other was a vibrant burghul salad with kale, pumpkin and red capsicum that was particularly moreish, topped with cold slices of tender, char grilled lamb backstrap.
|Seppelt St Peters Grampians Shiraz|
|Cheeses and candied walnuts|
A very good brie and corner of Red Leicester were served with lavosh crackers and a pile of fabulous candied walnuts.
|Jake Meadows performing on the harp|
|Dîner en Blanc Sydney|
|Waving napkins, signalling the beginning of DeB festivities|
Given the satellite-style layout of the tables outwards from the centre stage and DJ in McKay Field, we could see the Mexican wave-like, ripple effect of the napkin-waving as they got picked up around the spread out tables and flung around in the air.
|Sparklers come out, signalling the time to mingle and dance|
Photo by Shayben Moussa, courtesy of Burson-Marsteller
Even later, when the last dance has been danced, DeB guests pack up their tables, chairs and rubbish and leave the space without a trace of the evening's proceedings.
An organisational and logistical feat, the white night in Centennial Park that was Dîner en Blanc capped off another successful year and event for the lucky 4,000 guests - and it's promised to be bigger and better yet again in 2015. See more photos on my Facebook page.
Food, Booze & Shoes attended Dîner en Blanc Sydney as a guest of Seppelt Wines.