The “Dîner en blanc” return to Cuba in the midst of the crisis

The "Dîner en blanc" return to Cuba in the midst of the crisis

HAVANA, Oct. 27th. Havana will host another edition of the Dîner en blanc (White Dinner), a French-inspired event that will bring together diners in a kind of giant and “very chic” picnic. According to the Travel Trade Caribbean digital site, “the exclusive event” is announced from its portal to host about 350 guests, “all dressed in white, in what promises to be an unforgettable evening under the stars, full of beauty and magic.”

The event emerged in 1988, with just dozens of participants, the White Dinners, which celebrate the art of living following good manners, have become a phenomenon with experience in more than 120 cities, in 40 countries around the world, Le Dîner en Blanc “promotes friendship, elegance and a sense of community,” the publication adds.

The idea came from François Pasquier, a retired French businessman who dreamed of dining outdoors with his friends, in the most beautiful places in Paris. He even organized a first picnic in Bois de Boulogne, on the outskirts of the French capital, with instructions to dress in white to distinguish the participants from simple pedestrians.

But in Havana, nothing is the same, although the exact place is still a mystery, as is the norm. “Given the particularity of the Island, in this case, the guests will not have to bring tables, folding chairs, or plates, because they will be offered for rent.

They will not have to cook either, but will choose between different menus, which are part of the package offered,” stated the call for the event in its previous edition.

This year, they explain that, to maintain “the uniqueness of the dinner,” each participant must meet certain requirements. “The main one is the dress code: from head to toe only in white. Elegance and originality are key. And they are rewarded!” says the aforementioned digital site.

It is also specified that during the French-influenced dinner, “only the consumption of wine and/or champagne is allowed, products that guests must reserve online through the Le Dîner en Blanc electronic store.”

Travel Trade Caribbean adds that in this edition they wanted to “surround the central reason for the meeting” with other activities “that enhance Cuban identity and contribute to the repositioning of Destination Cuba.”

For this, the organizers have prepared different activities to keep guests busy throughout the weekend.

For example, “a dinner at the renowned El Atelier Restaurant” will welcome visitors, “accompanied by good Cuban music.”

“The next day will be Le Dîner en Blanc, and when it’s over, the party continues. In a disco, with a DJ, guests will be able to dance until they drop, share with friends, and experience Cuban-style enjoyment,” he says.

To close, they also announced “a dinner concert” with the Cuban orchestra Los Van Van, winner of a Grammy Award in 2000.

This is the second edition of this event to be held in Havana, the previous one took place in the gardens of the Hotel Nacional, and although it had been announced for November 2018, it was finally held in April 2019.

The event comes after only 151,380 tourists arrived in Cuba in September, the lowest number so far this year. This number of visitors demonstrates the poor recovery of one of the key sectors of the Cuban regime. The September figure is the worst recorded in 2023, even lower than that of June, when 154,590 tourists entered Cuba.

Furthermore, the call occurs when the country is experiencing an acute food crisis. For the economist Pedro Monreal, “in a ‘socialist’ country with growing poverty and a situation of food insecurity, ‘Le Dîner en Blanc’ on November 11 is nonsense,” commented the expert in a message on the social network X. ”

“It is an absurdity, a contradiction, a nonsense, a recklessness, a nonsense, an absurdity, an excess, an extravagance, a senselessness, a madness, a monstrosity, a foolishness, a paradox, and an absurdity,” Monreal added.