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 ...

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant - Immediate Start - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant - Immediate ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders