The Dîner en Blanc, or Dinner in White, began in France before catching on in New York City, above, and Minneapolis.


What's cooking: Happenings around the Twin Cities

  • May 1, 2013 - 3:31 PM

Dueling dinners?

Or double the fun? For years, Le Dîner en Blanc has been an important summer event in France. On a predetermined night, a secret location is revealed for a picnic meal at which everyone brings everything — food, tables, chairs, drink, illumination. Most important, everyone must be dressed entirely in white. The idea eventually spread, and the first Dîner en Blanc, or Dinner in White, came to Minneapolis in 2011. This year’s gathering is June 22 and the location will be revealed one hour before the event. (To be in the know, request to be added to the Dinner in White group page on Facebook.) The idea is to appear, revel with an emphasis on “over the top,” then leave the site perfectly clean — as if the evening were magic.

As with many fun ideas, they get flattered by imitation. Witness the PopUp Dinner Party Twin Cities. It’s similar — secret location, pack in, pack out, wear white — but is open to all and is charging $15 because the organizer, Hand Made Events in Sonoma, Calif., (whose founder is from Maple Grove) provides chairs, tables, bathrooms and a bit of entertainment. The emphasis is on tabletop decor, with “over the top” barely enough. Party date is Aug. 3, with location revealed that day. Tickets go on sale Friday. Visit “to request an invitation to purchase tickets.”


Doing the Dishcrawl

Dishcrawl, a sort of progressive dinner among restaurants, moves this month to eateries around the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus in a class called “Explore Campus Cuisine” (ExCaCu). On May 15, 25 diners will visit four restaurants within walking distance of campus, sampling foods along with college culture. Dishcrawl, active in California and Canada, arrived in Minnesota last fall. Founders say a key point of a Dishcrawl event is how it combines social, cultural and culinary experiences. Cost is $45. To sign up, visit

Tea for Taiwan

TeaSource tea importer is hosting Thomas Shu, a third-generation tea master from Taiwan, when he presents an advanced workshop on Taiwan tea from 7-9 p.m. May 6 at the Ramada Plaza Minneapolis, 1330 Industrial Blvd. Taiwan is known for superb oolongs and Shu will examine style, aroma, initial flavor, taste and finish of these teas, along with others. Shu, known for his entertaining workshops, is a professional instructor for the World Tea Expo. Cost is $20. To sign up (space is limited) call TeaSource at 612-788-4842.


CDC turns 5

Community Design Center of Minnesota, which uses cooking, gardening and conservancy as tools for youth development, is getting a new name for its fifth birthday. It will be announced at a fundraiser May 9 at the Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul, catered by World Street Kitchen. Tickets are $100, available by visiting


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