First lady chooses lamb and opera for Macron state dinner

First lady chooses lamb and opera for Macron state dinner
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Melania Trump is serving rack of lamb and nectarine tart at Tuesday’s White House state dinner for President Emmanuel Macron of France, the first of the Trump administration.

The first lady also chose the Washington National Opera to entertain the approximately 150 guests after dinner. On Monday, she released details of the affair being planned to dazzle Macron and his wife, Brigitte. The Macrons are due to arrive at the White House later Monday to join the Trumps for a double date at Mount Vernon, the Virginia home of George Washington, America’s first president.

Mrs. Trump, however, has saved a few choice details for the last minute. They include the complete guest list and what the first lady is wearing.

The main course is rack of spring lamb and Carolina rice jambalaya, cooked in a New Orleans tradition and incorporating herbs grown in the White House garden. Nectarine tart made with White House honey and accompanied by crème fraiche ice cream will be served for dessert.

American wines complementing the meals are said by the White House to “embody the historic friendship” between the U.S. and France that dates to the American revolution.

Dinner will be served in the State Dining Room, which will feature more than 2,500 stems of white sweet pea flowers and nearly 1,000 stems of white lilac. Separately, more than 1,200 branches of cherry blossoms grown in the United States will adorn the majestic Cross Hall.

The first lady opted for a cream-and-gold color scheme, and will use a mix of the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush china services.

Trump ended his first year in office without receiving a foreign leader on a state visit, making him the first president in nearly 100 years to do so. He was Macron’s guest last July at the annual military parade in the center of Paris. Macron and his wife also took Trump and the first lady on a tour of Napoleon’s tomb and whisked them up into the Eiffel Tower for dinner overlooking the City of Light.

State dinner tickets are highly sought after by Washington’s political and business elite. A few inklings of who’s in and who’s out already are known: Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund and a former top French government official, is in, as are House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.

In a break with tradition, Trump invited no Democratic members of Congress or journalists, said a White House official who was not authorized to discuss the arrangements publicly. But some Democrats made the cut, including Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, whose office confirmed his attendance.

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