Jennifer Schell and friend Brent Beasley are dressed all in white at Vancouver’s Le Diner en Blanc.

Jennifer Schell and friend Brent Beasley are dressed all in white at Vancouver’s Le Diner en Blanc.

Dining event offers shades of glamour

Preparations beginning for Diner en Blanc Okanagan event next year


You may have heard the buzz about the recent Diner en Blanc flash picnic that happened in Vancouver last Thursday. A total of 1,200 picnickers, dressed all in white, toting tables, chairs and white picnic baskets arrived to a last-minute secret location at Jack Poole Plaza (former home of the Olympic flame). It was a glorious spectacle and celebration of old-world glamour and I was thrilled to make the guest list! This sought-after event announces its growing network with over 15 new cities worldwide across five continents joining in.

Launched with just a handful of friends by Parisian François Pasquier over 20 years ago, Paris’ Dîner en Blanc now assembles nearly 15,000 people each year. “Beyond the spectacle and refined elegance of the dinner itself, guests are brought together from diverse backgrounds by a love of beauty and good taste. Le Dîner en Blanc recalls the elegance and glamour of court society, and diners engage one another knowing they are taking part in a truly magical event.”


There are many rules to follow and I love them all. Dress code: white. BYO: gourmet picnic basket with real plates, cutlery and glassware. Only white wine or bubbles are allowed. Rain or shine the picnic will happen, and if you don’t show up, you will be blackballed from the invitation list forever.

Now for the exciting news. I am part of a committee that has organized a white dinner in the Okanagan this coming weekend: Sept. 9. We are working with the International Diner en Blanc organizers to make our event official next year so we will be able to call it Diner en Blanc Okanagan. This will give our beautiful valley international recognition as being a host to this tres elegant affair. There are a few tickets left to the Okanagan White Dinner. Tickets are only $25 — don’t miss being a part of the magic. Go to: and sign up to now.

Okanagan hot sauce makers: here is your chance to be famous! The Similkameen Sizzle’s 11th Annual Pepper Festival is coming up on Sept. 15 and this year they are hosting a contest for the best sauce in the valley. The competition is open to chefs and home cooks and they have a celebrity judge panel in place. Food & Wine Trails Magazine and EAT Magazine are sponsors for this fabulous event and we are excited to announce that Kelowna’s new Urban Fare grocery store has offered the grand prize: a  $100 gift certificate and opportunity to have the winning hot sauce carried in Urban Fare Kelowna store for one year.

From pancake breakfast to live music, a hot pepper eating contest, a chili cook-off and fun kids activities all day, Keremeos is the place to be on Sept 15. Go to: for details on the entire event and to download the entry form for the hot sauce competition. Hot sauce entries will be collected at the Kelowna and Penticton Farmer’s Market info booths on Saturday, Sept. 8. Don’t miss out on the excitement and chance to be the hottest cook in the valley!

The farmers’ markets are in their fullest expression at this time of the year and are loaded with a splendiferous array of produce in season. We are also enjoying the addition of several new delicious vendors to the market, like Kalayra Angelyys’ new Snacker Cracker line.


Gluten free, preservative free and made with healthy ingredients like powerhouse, nutrient-rich almonds and quinoa, these yummy bites come in both a salty and sweet variety. Developed by Kalayra in her Thermomix machine (she is also the local rep for this wonder machine — remember, I have one named Klaus), she was looking for a satisfying snack that was both healthy and also was gluten free to serve those with dietary restrictions. Stop by her booth on Wednesdays at the Kelowna Farmers Market or visit her website: or call 250-868-9421.



Jennifer Schell is the editor of B.C. Food and Wine Trails magazine.