Cowichan Bay (CDN) - White Dinner

Cowichan Bay

If you missed it last year, or were scared away by the clouds that threatened the first Cittaslow Cowichan Bay White Dinner, you have another chance.

The second annual version of this celebration of elegance is back Sunday, Sept. 1 as Cittaslow Cowichan Bay and Rocky Creek Winery are partnering once again to host the event.

What's so special about it? After all, on the surface it appears to be what organizers say: "a free, family friendly event aimed at bringing the community together to enjoy local food and company and to savor the benefits of sharing a meal together."

The difference is that everyone attending is encouraged to wear white.

This year's event will resemble White Dinner 2012 in many ways.

Long tables draped in white linens will be set up in the vineyard at Rocky Creek, white lights will adorn fruit trees in the orchard, and the Robert Stitt jazz quartet will help set the mood.

So, what's the idea behind dining outdoors in white? It all started in Paris where many fashionable doings originate.

The so-called Diner en Blanc en Paris has now been going on for over 20 years and attracts a crowd of 15,000 annually.

White Dinners are making their way to Canada as well.

The idea is to share a meal in an idyllic outdoor setting.

"Cittaslow Cowichan Bay embraced the idea because it captures so many of our values," Bruce Stewart, the society's president, said.

"Bringing the community together, engaging residents, sharing local products and celebrating our uniqueness are just few of the values that Cittaslow embodies," he said.

If it's anything like last year at all, this second dinner will be special indeed.

Beginning at 4 p.m., this event is for the entire family but leave your pets at home.

The idea is to bring your own picnic and vegetable dish, salad or dessert made with local ingredients to share.

Barbecued salmon and Cowichan Bay beef burgers will be available for purchase at $5 a piece, but they must be ordered in advance, if you prefer this option. Rocky Creek wines will also be available for purchase at $5 a glass.

Further, in sticking with the original concept, attendees are expected to bring their own chairs, white linens, plates, cutlery, and stemware.

In 2009 Cowichan Bay became North America's first Cittaslow community.

The idea is to build a place that values the time it takes to enjoy community relationships, celebrate the community's unique history and traditions, promote craftsmanship and environmental stewardship, maintain the community's distinct character, and engage residents and visitors by sharing in high quality living.