|White House State Dinner Behind the Scenes|
|Michael Falcone (@michaelpfalcone)||Feb 11, 2014, 12:31 PM|
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters Photo
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are set to host a state dinner tonight in honor of French President Francois Hollande - just the seventh such event of the Obama presidency.
It will be a night filled with glamour, celebrity, power, the best food, fine wines and top-notch entertainment (but no dancing - Hollande is going stag). In case your invitation to the glitzy White House event got lost in the mail, here's what you're missing:The Menu
According to the White House, the menu will reflect "the best of American cuisine." In keeping with that theme, the ingredients for each course will have a local flair: Caviar "farmed from the estuaries of Illinois"; a dozen varieties of potatoes, from New York, Idaho and California; dry-aged rib eye beef, "sourced from a family owned farm in Greeley, Colorado"; chocolate from Hawaii; tangerines from Florida; and blue cheese and maple syrup from Vermont.
White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford and White House Executive Pastry Chef William Yosses took over the White House's Instagram account on Monday offering up a preview of some of the dishes.
- The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 10, 2014
First Course American Osetra Caviar Fingerling Potato Velouté, Quail Eggs, Crisped Chive Potatoes
Second Course "The Winter Garden Salad" Petite Mixed Radish, Baby Carrots, Merlot Lettuce Red Wine Vinaigrette
According to the White House, "The Winter Garden Salad pays tribute to The First Lady's White House Kitchen Garden. Even when covered with snow, the winter vegetables … continue to thrive, and little hints of spring are already starting to sprout."
- FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) February 10, 2014
Dry-aged Rib Eye Beef
Jasper Hill Farm Blue Cheese, Charred Shallots, Oyster
Mushrooms, Braised Chard
Hawaiian Chocolate-Malted Ganache
Vanilla Ice Cream and Tangerines
And the decadence doesn't stop there: "After dinner, guests can enjoy fudge made from Vermont maple syrup, lavender shortbread cookies, and cotton candy dusted with orange zest," according to the White House.
No State Dinner - especially one honoring the president of France - would be complete without a selection of fine wines. (Though the White House notoriously found itself in hot water a few years ago when it got a little overzealous with some expensive selections). Here are tonight's picks:
Morlet "La Proportion Doree" 2011
Napa Valley, California
Chester - Kidder Red Blend 2009
Columbia Valley, Washington
Thibaut-Jannison "Blanc de Chardonnay"
Though some of the cuisine may offer French touches, the entertainment will be decidedly American. R&B singer Mary J. Blige, a nine-time Grammy winner born in the Bronx, will give an after-dinner serenade.
An Obama family favorite, Blige sang "One" in honor of President Obama at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and was reportedly a guest at the first lady's 50th birthday bash last month. Blige co-founded the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now, a women's empowerment network that was plagued by accusations of corruption just last year.
The theme of the dinner's decor "was inspired by the shared history and long-standing friendship between the United States and France," according to the White House, which will showcase several French pieces, including an exquisite 14-foot mirrored plateau table crafted by French artist Deniere et Matelin and chosen by President James Monroe in 1817.
The 300-plus guests will dine in a pavilion tent on the White House South Lawn dotted with French-inspired bouquets of flowers and vines arranged by White House Chief Floral Designer Laura Dowling.
Though the White House has not released an official guest list for tonight's event, past State Dinners have included a mix of politicians, celebrities and members of the country's business elite.
ABC News' Erin Dooley contributed to this report.