Thursday, April 26, 2018

Very First State Dinner at the Trump White House - for French President Emmanuel Macron and his Wife Brigitte, USA/ France

Picture: Very First State Dinner at the Trump White House for French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte (Photo: Der Spiegel)

The Trump White House hosted its very first state dinner for French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Donald Trump was the first president since Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s to end his first year in office without hosting a foreign leader on a state visit. The first visit of a ruling monarch for a dinner at the White House was in 1874 with King David Kalakaua of the Sandwich Islands as the honored guest. It wasn’t until President Dwight D. Eisenhower that the modern protocol of the State Dinner was established, with the visit of South Korea’s president in 1954.

The Setting

The colour scheme was cream and gold and the dinner service consisted of china used by the Bill Clinton and George W Bush administrations. A White House statement said: “The first lady chose the Bush china with the green color palette to complement the spring green and white flowers that will be featured in the state dining room.”  The china is by-partisan, even if the guest list isn't.

Pictures: The State Dining Room at the White House Set for the State Dinner (Photos: AP/ Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The Meal

The dinner consisted of only 3 courses. The meal was prepared by White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford.

The meal started with a goat cheese gateau with tomato jam, buttermilk biscuit crumbles, and lettuces from the White House garden.

The main course was a rack of spring lamb and Carolina gold rice jambalaya cooked in the tradition of New Orleans, a city founded by the French.

For dessert: a nectarine tart infused with White House honey and crème fraîche.

The Wines

Domaine Serene Chardonnay “Evenstad Reserve” 2015

The wine is the product of American and French collaboration — a combination of French plants from Dijon that thrive in the volcanic Oregon soil and colder temperatures. The wine was aged in 40 percent French oak barrels for more than 12 months.

Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir “Laurène” 2014

Picture: Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir “Laurène” 2014

This wine uses the motto “French soul–Oregon soil.” The grapes at Domaine Drouhin are harvested and sorted by hand and fermented in French Oak barrels.

Schramsberg Demi-Sec “Crémant” NV

Schramsberg Demi-Sec “Crémant” has been served in the White House for official and ceremonial events many times over the years. The subtle sweetness and creamy effervescence of the 2014 vintage is the perfect accompaniment for a nectarine tart.

Schramsberg: We are honored that the Schramsberg Cremant Demi-sec will be served this evening at the White House at the State Dinner for French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte. This marks the 36th time Schramsberg has been served at a U.S. state dinner and the 87th time at a U.S. state function since 1972 and the "Toast to Peace" in China.

Schramsberg – A Leading Sparkling Wine Producer Founded by a German

In 1826, in the small town of Pfeddersheim Germany, along the Rhine River, Jacob Schram was born. He came from a winemaking family. When he was sixteen, the young Schram immigrated to New York. He was educated in the trade of barbering, and in 1852 sailed across the Caribbean, crossed-over the Panama Isthmus, and continued up to San Francisco. He spent the next several years barbering, eventually moving his way north, to the Napa Valley.

In 1859 he married Annie Christine Weaver, also from Germany, and they started a family. For several years he continued to barber full time. Never far from his thoughts were his homeland and his roots in the vinelands of Germany. In 1862, Jacob purchased a large piece of land on the mountainsides of the Napa Valley. He was going to be a part of the emerging efforts by many fellow German countrymen in the Napa Valley to make wine; thus Schramsberg was born.

See: American Wines with German Roots


Entertainment was provided by the Washington National Opera from the Kennedy Center.

The Guest List

In a break with tradition, Trump did not invited Democratic members of Congress or journalists to the state dinner. There were around 150 guests in the state dining room – fewer than the hundreds of guests Barack Obama used to entertain in a tented pavilion erected on the south lawn.

Among those joining the main guests of honor were Apple CEO Tim Cook, who brought as his guest former Obama EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, statesman Henry Kissinger, Chief Justice John Roberts, media mogul Rubert Murdoch, managing director of the IMF Christine Lagarde and the president's daughter and son-in-law Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

Pictures: State Dinner at the Trump White House for French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte (Photos: Der Spiegel)

Comments by Jessica Sidman

Jessica Sidman, Washingtonian: When Trump has dined with world leaders in the past, the food has been more often an accommodation of his tastes than a gesture of diplomacy. At a dinner at Mar-a-Lago with Chinese President Xi Jinping last April, the menu included pan-seared Dover sole, dry-aged prime New York strip steak, and chocolate cake—Trump’s favorites. Was it a power move meant to assert dominance? A reinforcement of “America First” messaging? Or the President simply being selfish?

Usually world leaders go out of their way to appeal to likes and dislikes of their foreign guests, not the other way around. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for example, took Trump for cheeseburgers during a visit to Tokyo last fall. (Tellingly, Trump was not once spotted with chopsticks during that 12-day, five-nation Asia tour.)

Perhaps because it’s an official, formal state dinner, the White House’s French fête showcases an understanding for the politics of food. There’s no steak and chocolate cake just because that’s what Trump likes. (We can’t imagine the President requesting his lamb with cipollini soubise.) Rather, the First Lady and her team have thoughtfully put together a menu that reflects the transatlantic partnership. That goes for the wine, too. The Chardonnay is made from French grapes aged in French oak barrels in Oregon, while a Pinot Noir uses the slogan “French soul, Oregon soil.”
The menu draws from red states.

Pictures: President Trump and President Macron at the White House

Between the buttermilk biscuit crumbles and jambalaya, the dishes clearly have a little bit of a Southern undertone. Coincidence that Trump dominated the vote in that part of the country?
No celebrity chefs this time.

The Obama White House was a magnet for big food-world names. Restaurant industry titans like Rick Bayless, Marcus Samuelsson, Anita Lo, and Mario Batali all collaborated on state dinner menus. This time, White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford won’t be working with any celebrity chefs. It’s hard to imagine many who would jump at the opportunity, especially after the fallout between José Andrés—the unofficial godfather of DC dining—and Trump’s Pennsylvania Avenue hotel.

If the Trumps were going to choose any outside name to consult on the state dinner menu, it likely would have been Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The celebrity toque operates a French-American restaurant in Trump Tower, and also catered there the First Couple’s wedding. Then again, who needs a fancy restaurant chef? Trump calls the White House the “greatest restaurant” in DC.

Side Dinner in Paris and Washington DC

The evening before the state dinner, the Trumps and the Macrons had a private dinner at Mount Vernon on the banks of the Potomac river and visited the tomb of George Washington.

Last July, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump dined with French President Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Macron at their invitation inside the famous Le Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower, with sweeping views of Paris laid out in front of them.

Picture: The Trumps and the Macrons at Mount Vernon and at the Jules Verne restaurant at the Eiffel Tower on 13 July 2017 (Photos: President Macron and Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS)

3-day Program

Upon arrival on Monday, April 23, 2018, the two couples plant a tree, a gift from the Macrons, together on the south lawn. The sapling, a European sessile oak about 4.5ft tall, comes from Belleau Woods, where more than 9,000 American marines died in a first world war battle nearly 100 years ago.

Pictures: Arrival Ceremony at the White House (Pictures: CBSN and AFP)

In the evening, the Macrons took a tour of historic monuments in Washington DC, before going to Mount Vernon, where the Trumps and the Macrons had a private dinner on the banks of the Potomac river and visit the tomb of George Washington.

On Tuesday morning, President Trump and the First Lady hosted a state arrival ceremony on the south lawn including the traditional “review of the troops”. There were meetings and a joint press conference during the day.

President Macron also addressed a joint session of Congress and had a townhall meeting with students at George Washington University on Wednesday.

Picture: Address to the Congress (Photo: Emmanuel Macron/ twitter)

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Upcoming Tours/ Wine Dinners/ Tastings - Annette and Christian Schiller/ ombiasyPR & WineTours/ schiller-wine, Germany, France, USA (Issued: April 2, 2018)

Ombiasy Wine Tours 2018: 3 x France and 3 x Germany - Ombiasy Newsletter December 2017

American Wines with French Roots: The Wines President Obama Served at the State Dinner for President Hollande, USA/France

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