François Hollande Is Coming to Dinner – Alone.
Sugar roses and fleur-de-lis, the official flowers of the United States and France. White House chefs made 38 of each for tonight’s White House State Dinner. (White House photo)
The White House no longer has to guess who is coming to dinner tonight and is probably breathing a big sigh of relief knowing that French President François Hollande is showing up with neither the first First Lady, Valerie Trierweiler, nor the possible, second First Lady, actress Julie Gayet.
Either way, the White House was ready to “roll with the punches” as Anita McBride, the former chief of staff to former first lady Laura Bush, said a couple of weeks ago.
This morning President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the First Lady welcomed the unaccompanied French President to the White House with all pomp and circumstance.
By the way, this is the first state visit by a French president in nearly 20 years.
But how about the dinner?
Lucy McCalmont at Politico tells us that the event will be held tonight in a tent on the South Lawn and, according to the menu, the dinner will celebrate “the best of American cuisine,” including:
…a first course of American Osetra Caviar from Illinois, quail eggs from Pennsylvania and 12 varieties of potatoes from farms in New York, Idaho and California. For the salad course, the White House details a Winter Garden Salad that “pays tribute to The First Lady’s White House Kitchen Garden.”
The main course is a dry-aged rib eye beef from a family-owned farm in Colorado that will be served with Jasper Hill Farm Blue Cheese crisp from Vermont.
Finishing the meal are a selection of sweets. There will be a chocolate malted cake that combines bittersweet chocolate from Hawaii and tangerines from Florida and will be served with vanilla ice cream from Pennsylvania. Additionally, the menu boasts fudge made from Vermont maple syrup, lavender shortbread cookies and cotton candy dusted with orange zest.
Finally, “The White House has selected wines “priced between $30 to $65…from California, Washington and Monticello, Va.”
White House Chef Cris Comerford and Pastry Chef Bill Yosses have been quite busy preparing for the event. Here are a couple of images with some of their comments– all White House photos:
“Here’s a first look at the Winter Garden Salad that we’re serving at [tonight's] State Dinner. The salad features herbs from the White House Kitchen Garden, and the dressing uses honey from the beehive on the South Lawn.”