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Inspired SpontaneityAugust 22, 2012
Have you heard about the latest flash mob phenomena? This one’s called ‘Dîner en Blanc®’ and it’s all about spontaneity. It started in France and has since spread to Canada and other countries. Here’s how it works. A date is set for a gathering where guests are to bring their own food, picnic-style. What isn’t disclosed is the location, until a text message is sent out to participants 30 minutes before the event.
The first small and secret Paris Dîner en Blanc was actually held back in 1988. By last year, it had grown to a mob of 10,000, filling the courtyard outside the Louvre and beyond. 10,000 people at a pop-up picnic, entirely recruited by word of mouth and social media. It’s incredible, really, and it’s made more ‘colourful’ by the fact that everyone dresses in white.
The concept gave me an idea. There’s a local reggae band in my city that hosts an annual “Harmony” community picnic in an attractive park setting on the shore of a lake. Various bands play and there’s a drumming circle that anyone can join. There’s lots of room for kids to dance and play – in short, it’s a perfect summer outing. My family had a great time there last year, but we were disappointed with the small crowd in attendance.
This year, when I saw a poster for the event, I decided to hold my own little ‘spontaneous’ picnic and invited a few friends. It was an easy sell when I told them I’d bring the food, but they wouldn’t know the location – just the date and time – with instructions to follow.
The Saturday dawned sunny and hot and I hit the farmers market for some salad makings and fresh fruit, including a stop at the booth of the organic farmer who plays drums in the band. I headed to the grocery store and stocked up on Tre Stelle® and Castello® cheeses, making selections that my friends may not yet have experienced.
I chose ripened Tre Stelle® Asiago for its assertive flavour. I picked Tre Stelle® Borgonzola® because I wanted my guests to experience the joy that results when the mild, creamy flavour of Brie meets the tangy bite of Blue Cheese. And I picked my latest favourite, Castello® Reserve Danish Aged Havarti, to demonstrate how a mild cheese can age into a full-bodied, flavour-packed mouth-thriller.
I went home and made some salads, cut up some cheeses and sliced some sausages. Then I sent out the text and headed for the park. There were only 12 of us, but we still swelled the crowd and even invited some of the audience to join in our picnic. The novelty of the surprise location raised the mood, and the live entertainment was a big bonus. Our group definitely got people talking, and I wouldn’t be surprised if others soon joined in the fun with their own riff on spontaneous dining.
Preparing the picnic was easy – as mentioned I brought fruit including watermelon and peaches, sliced cheeses and meats and a few different salads, which I sourced by searching through the recipes at trestelle.ca.
This entry was posted in Cheese and tagged asiago, Blue Cheese, Borgonzola, Brie, castello, Cheese, havarti, recipe, Tre Stelle. Bookmark the permalink. ← Chase That Cheese: The Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival Labour Day’s Bittersweet Celebration →