As many foodies know, for at least the last decade or two there have been annual dinners throughout the world where a secret location is chosen as well as a time and place for people to meet and then everyone shows up dressed entirely in white and are taken, usually by bus, to the secret location where tables have been set up for a gourmet dinner. It is generally believed that this event was started in France, and that is probably true.
However I have just learned of another “white party” that predates the “dinner in white” and that more than likely was the inspiration for the current French version of this food and fashion lover’s extravaganza. In the small fishing town of Cadaques, Spain on the northern and most eastern sector of The Costa Brava, twenty miles south of the French border, the first “white party” was hosted by the noted child surgeon Isidro Claret and his wife Toña in 1983.The original white parties were held for three consecutive years in August, starting at 10 p.m. in the evening and running until 10 a.m. the next day. Each of the adult family members of the Claret family would set up a tent and prepare their favorite dishes ranging from stuffed beef (freshly butchered after a bull fight in neighboring town of Figueres, the birth place of the famous surrealist painter Salvador Dali), fresh gazpacho, pumpkin soup, homemade Catalan sausages, and other local delicacies.
Musicians were hired and wine flowed like water. Every year the parties became larger and larger until the large grounds were filled to capacity with dance floors constructed, covering the few spaces not planted with tables. The neighbors made available their refrigerators to keep additional supplies of cold beverages and more than six hundred people chose the finest white linens, satins, silks, cottons, feathers and clothing materials to fashion the most incredible white costumes available. (more…)