As the son of famed Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, Canada’s newest leader, Justin Trudeau, has history with the Canadian people. This week, he’ll make history as the first prime minister from his homeland to attend a state visit at the White House in 19 years.
After a freeze on state dinners with Canada for nearly 20 years, White House event staff has gone into overdrive, even working Trudeau’s wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau’s favorite color into the decor. The White House florist says she loves green.
But the biggest gesture of culinary diplomacy is the unveiling of the Obama China soup tureen which will take place at this state dinner. While the China set was unveiled in time for the state dinner for Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, the tureen has not yet been revealed…until now.
The dish it will carry is halibut (American) casserole with asparagus and mushrooms.
“We are so bound by so many common things, that even though you fish the halibut from our side of the waters, it runs in both waters,” said White House Executive Chef, Cris Comerford.
As was the case in the last state dinner for Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan, the dessert is the most creative expression of honor for the invited guests. Their tables were decorated with a sugar display called “A Walk through the Garden” – complete with a hand-made chocolate pagoda.
In this case, each table will be graced with a sugar landscape inspired by the Rocky Mountains decorated with chocolate black bear and deer and displaying caramels with fleur du sel (flower of salt in French) and chocolate coconut slice inspired by Canada’s Nanaimo bar.
The display also includes raisin tarts.
“In Canada, they’re very well-known for the butter tarts, so I added a little raisins,” said Executive Pastry Chef, Susie Morrison.
And each guest receives a warm maple pecan cake covered in maple syrup — made, not in Canada – but in New England.