US First Lady Jill Biden will offer America’s best to French President Emmanuel Macron and his entourage at a lavish White House dinner on Thursday -- just one of the elaborate details and valuable gifts forming part of the diplomatic dance surrounding this state visit.
It’s a bold gambit by the Americans, to meet the French in an arena over which they have long been masters par excellence: wine and cheese.
As the Elysee Palace unveiled a list of gifts that Macron will offer his American counterpart, Joe Biden, including a luxurious Christofle cup, the US president’s wife revealed the setting and menu for the night’s gala dinner.
It will be served under a large tent in the gardens, on tables laden with candlesticks and flowers in the colors of the two countries.
Lobster will feature -- 200 live shellfish have made their last trip to Washington -- along with beef, squash from the White House garden and cake, among other delicacies.
But the First Lady particularly insisted on serving American cheeses, including a blue cheese from northwestern Oregon that was the first American product to win the World Cheese Championships in 2019.
The toasts will be served with an American sparkling wine -- though in glasses made in France.
And the evening will be hosted by Jon Batiste, the jazz musician from Louisiana, the former province ceded by France to the United States, which Macron will visit on Friday.
The White House has not yet revealed what gifts it will bestow on Macron, but Paris has announced that he will present Biden with the cup from Christofle, the high-end tableware and jewelry company that supplied the prestigious cruise liner “Normandie,” among other things.
As such, it is a reference to the transatlantic relationship. The first voyage of the French ship to New York was an international triumph in 1935.
The French president also took a vinyl record of the soundtrack of Claude Lelouch’s 1966 film “Un homme et une femme” (“A Man and a Woman”) with him, and the filmmaker himself was part of the French delegation.
The song of the same name with its refrain “Dabadabada” (often retranslated “Chabadabada”), composed by Francis Lai, was awarded a Golden Globe at the time.
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