While most Washington embassies throw glitzy events, getting on the guest list may not be easy. For anyone who missed the Passport DC open house earlier this year, there are other ways to see inside an embassy, especially if you’re partial to wine, food, and culture—or handy with a smartphone.
ATTEND A WINETASTING
Wine consultant Laurent Guinand is one of the best-connected people when it comes to diplomats: He works with importers, embassies, and foreign governments to source and promote their wines overseas. Guinand’s company, GiraMondo Wine Adventures, hosts six to eight tastings a year at embassies, offering classes, samples of up to 15 wines, and food pairings. The events are kept small and offer high-quality wines; ambassadors usually attend to discuss their country’s wine industry. GiraMondo winetasting tickets (about $79) are available through the event Web site.
GO TO A CONCERT
The Embassy Series has been hosting mostly classical concerts since 1994, when it was founded to promote “global cultural diplomacy through music and the arts.” The organization typically hosts 25 concerts a year at embassies and ambassadors’ residences, usually showcasing musicians and composers from each country. Recent concerts featured cellist Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir performing at the Icelandic ambassador’s residence and tenor Szabolcs Brickner and mezzo-soprano Magdalena Wór at the Hungarian Embassy.Embassy Series tickets—$50 to $150 including a post-concert reception with regional wines and food—are available through the event Web site.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA
If you’re Facebook- and Twitter-savvy, social media can be one of the surest ways to hear about embassy events. Some of the best embassies to follow are Sweden (on Facebook), which regularly hosts art exhibits, seminars, concerts, and even Pilates lessons; Finland (@finnembassydc); Greece (@greeceinusa); France (@houseoffrancedc); and Austria (@austriainusa). All five offer regular updates with information about events and other cultural happenings.
This article appears in the July 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.