The Bidens are hosting French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife for their first state dinner.
The Macrons arrived at the White House on Thursday and will be treated to an extravagant dinner.
The red, white, and blue-themed dinner features a menu of butter-poached lobster and American cheese.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron to the White House Thursday for the Biden administration's first state dinner.
Biden's choice of guests for the much anticipated event is seen as highly strategic being that French relations were on the rocks during the preceding presidency. The dinner will serve as a way to "revitalize" the French-American diplomatic relationship, advisors to the president told CNN.
"If you look at what's going on in Ukraine, look at what's going on in the Indo-Pacific and the tensions with China, France is really at the center of all those things," John Kirby, the National Security Council's coordinator for strategic communications told CNN.
Macron was also the featured guest at the Trump administration's first state dinner. The Obama administration honored former French president François Hollande with a state dinner, as well.
Macron and his wife will be treated to an extravagant dinner, which will be held under a tent on the South Lawn of the White House, where they will feast on butter-poached lobster, beef with shallot marmalade, caviar, and American-made wine and artisanal cheeses.
The first lady, who took the lead in planning the event, said in remarks on Wednesday that the dinner would relect the US and France's shared values of "liberty and democracy, equality and fellowship" and the nation's shared colors of red, white, and blue.
The dinner's theme features colors from both the American and French flags: red, white, and blue.
First Lady Jill Biden met with press on Wednesday, November 30 in the White House State Dining Room for remarks ahead of the black-tie state dinner revealing various details about the administration's plans to host the French leader and his wife, including it's red, white, and blue-theme.
"The design of this dinner was inspired by the shared colors of our flags—red, white, and blue—and our common values: liberty and democracy, equality and fellowship," Jill Biden said. "These form the bedrock upon which our enduring friendship was built.
Flowers adorning the tables are red roses, blue delphines, and white irises, the official flower of France, to represent the capitals of both nation's, according to the first lady.
White House china is not permitted to leave the building, so dinner guests will dine on rented dinnerware.
During her remarks, the first lady reminisced on how her mother used to prepare for family dinners.
"I learned that setting a table can be an act of love," Biden said.
The dinner menu features award-winning American cheeses.
Jill Biden told reporters she is especially excited that the 2019 World Cheese Awards champion cheese, Rogue River Blue is on the plate.
One of the dinner's main courses is a butter-poached Maine lobster.
White House executive chef Cris Comerford and White House executive pastry chef Susie Morrison previewed the state dinner dishes at a press event Wednesday.
In her remarks, Jill Biden said their chefs prepared a very "thoughtful" menu for the event.
There were 200 live lobsters shipped to the White House in preparation for the event, according to the Associated Press.
For a heartier option, White House chefs will also prepare a beef shallot with marmalade for the president's French guests.
For dessert, White House pastry chef Susie Morrison presented an orange chiffon cake decorated with the theme colors.
The orange chiffon cake, which is decorated with both the American and French flags, is paired with roasted pears and a creme fraîche ice cream.
Grammy Award-winning singer Jon Batiste will provide the evening's entertainment.
Accompanying Batiste will be his father, Michael Batiste, the U.S. Marine Band and the Army and Air Force Strolling Strings.
"We chose Jon Batiste as our entertainer for the evening—a performer who grew up in New Orleans, which has been shaped by both French and American culture," Jill Biden said.
The White House is expecting around 400 attendees for the state dinner.
The dinner's extra-large guest list was made to accommodate guests who have missed out on White House social activities due to COVID-19 restrictions. Attendees include, diplomats, members of Congress, donors, friends, and other White House officials.
"We've always expected a larger guest list as it's the first state dinner of the Biden Administration," Vanessa Valdivia, Jill Biden's press secretary, told CNN.
During the toasts from each president, a backdrop of the Statue of Liberty will be featured.
Along with pictures of the Statue of Liberty on dinner menus, a backdrop of the famous monument will be featured as the backdrop during the presidents' toasts.
White House Social Secretary Carlos Elizondo worked in tandem with the first lady to plan the long-awaited event.
Elizondo was also supported by the New York City-based event planning company, Fete.
"The journey of planning this event has been an unforgettable experience. I've had the chance to collaborate with truly brilliant individuals—especially Carlos Elizondo, our White House Social Secretary," Jill Biden said during her Wednesday remarks. "So many people have worked for months to make this visit magical and meaningful—and I'm grateful for all of them."
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