What's for dinner? The White House State Dinner for French President Hollande

McClatchy Washington BureauFebruary 10, 2014 

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome French President François Hollande to the White House on Tuesday for a rare, fancy, protocol laden state visit and dinner.

The dinner will be held in a tent on the South Lawn of the White House where officials say White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford and White House Executive Pastry Chef William Yosses have created a menu "featuring delicacies from across the United States."

The four course meal "celebrates the best of American cuisine," the White House said, highlighting "the talents of our nation’s cheese artisans, as well as the bountiful produce grown by farmers across our country."

The First Course: American Osetra Caviar, farmed from the estuaries of Illinois, is paired with quail eggs from Pennsylvania and twelve varieties of potatoes from farms in New York, Idaho, and California.

The Salad Course is petite mixed radish and baby carrots, served on a bed of merlot lettuce with a red wine vinaigrette. The Winter Garden Salad pays tribute to The First Lady’s White House Kitchen Garden: "Even when covered with snow, the winter vegetables in the White House Kitchen Garden continue to thrive, and little hints of spring are already starting to sprout."

The Main Course: Dry-aged Rib Eye Beef, is sourced from a family owned farm in Greeley, Colorado and served with a Jasper Hill Farm Blue Cheese crisp from Greensborough, Vermont.

Dessert is a celebration of American traditions and produce. The Chocolate Malted Cake is a modern version of an all-American layer cake presented in a geometric form. This dish combines bittersweet chocolate from Hawaii, tangerines from Florida, and is served à la mode with vanilla ice cream from Pennsylvania.

After dinner, guests can enjoy fudge made from Vermont maple syrup, lavender shortbread cookies, and cotton candy dusted with orange zest.

The wines are, unsurprisingly, domestic as well. They include: Morlet “La Proportion Doree” 2011, Napa Valley, California; Chester - Kidder Red Blend 2009, Columbia Valley, Washington; Thibaut-Jannison “Blanc de Chardonnay,” Monticello, Virginia.

The White House says the décor and flower arrangements were inspired by the "shared history and long-standing friendship" between the United States and France.

It notes French furnishings can be found throughout the White House, including a several French furnishings in the Blue Room and State Dining Room that were chosen during President James Monroe’s 1817 renovation.

Following the dinner, The White House will host a State Dinner performance featuring Mary J. Blige.

The White House says the dinner is the administration's seventh State or Official Visit: previous visits include: India in November 2009, Mexico in May 2010, China in January 2011, Germany in June 2011, Korea in October 2011, and the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland in March 2012.


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