Luke Blackall: Ambassador, you are spoiling us... despite the lack of Ferrero Rocher

They could serve you dinner on a wet white cardboard plate, and because it was the French embassy, you would presume it was correct

In my relatively short career as a professional ligger – sorry, entertainment journalist – I have been lucky enough to go to a lot of parties. Launches, relaunches, openings, closings, premieres, galas, balls, fundraisers, auctions, dinners, breakfasts, after parties, cocktails and champagne receptions, and many combinations of those. But until this week, one thing I hadn't yet done was attend an ambassador's reception.

(I had lunch once at a consulate, but as far as I'm concerned that doesn't count.)

I've always wanted to. This could be because they're the sort of thing to which James Bond gets invited as he shoots and shags his way around the world. But more likely it was because I was brainwashed as a child by the Ferrero Rocher advert, where the (in hindsight, penny-pinching) ambassador treats his guests to a pyramid of the gold-wraped little chocolates. I now see them as the pinnacle of all parties.

So on Wednesday I squeezed into my dinner jacket and strolled up a street of staggeringly grand houses to reach the French ambassador's residence. The occasion was a reception for the international friends of the Opera Festival in Aix-en-Provence. After a performance from opera star Sarah Connolly, we were taken through to a dinner of fine food and even finer wines.

The terms "stiff" and "formal" are almost always meant in a negative way, but here they were only positives. Extremely attentive staff ensured that, to borrow a phrase, the host's exquisite taste did indeed captivate his guests.

To be honest, they could serve you dinner on a wet white cardboard plate, and because it was the French embassy, you would presume it was correct.

And while no Ferrero Rocher were served (they must only do it at the Italian residence), they did send out port and cigars.

The host himself, Bernard Emié, gave a lesson in working the room. Charming and chatty, he made sure that he greeted all the guests and spoke to them every single one, which was the perfect chance to abandon my usual diet of frothy conversation and pass on my bright ideas about the Eurozone and French politics.

With my embassy ambition now ticked off the list, next up is a royal wedding. Now if anyone wants to invite me to one of those, you can reach me at the usual address ...

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits