The U.S.-Canada state dinner Thursday will feature a dessert using American maple syrup
The menu is meant to celebrate the resolute -- if sometimes overlooked -- partnership between the U.S. and Canada
Justin Trudeau is the first Canadian prime minister to be honored with a state dinner in nearly two decades
A long-simmering transborder dispute between the United States and Canada isn’t expected to be resolved during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to the White House Thursday.
It’s not softwood lumber or Alberta crude oil that’s dividing the two stalwart partners. It’s maple syrup.
Among the haute American cuisine featured on Thursday night’s State Dinner menu is a pecan cake the White House says will feature caramelized maple syrup from New England, and not from the honored guest’s home across the northern border.
Canadians and Americans have long held their own versions of the treacly liquid as superior. Even in the United States, feuds between producers in Vermont, New Hampshire, upstate New York and Maine have divided a maple-consuming public.
The White House pastry chef, Susie Morrison, said the New England product was selected since it was more readily available.
“When I was thinking about maple syrup, we just had the availability of the New England maple syrup to us and that was why I decided to use it,” Morrison said.
The pecan cake is one in a host of elements meant to celebrate the resolute – if sometimes overlooked – partnership between the U.S. and Canada. Trudeau is the first Canadian prime minister to be honored with a state dinner in nearly two decades.
The White House selected embroidered jade tablecloths when it was learned that was Sophie Grégoire Trudeau’s favorite color. One of the pre-dinner canapes is a riff on poutine, the Canadian dish of French fries, cheese curds and brown gravy. And the petit four tray comes with a handmade sugar sculpture of the Rocky Mountains, which extend into both nations.
It’s tradition for the White House to use American-made products in State Dinner menus that reflect the cuisine of the visiting leader’s country. Oftentimes the sweetener of choice is honey from the beehive on the South Lawn.
For the dinner honoring Trudeau, White House executive chef Cris Comerford sourced ingredients from across the U.S., including the wild-caught Alaskan halibut served as a first course casserole; Appalachian cheese from Virginia featured as a starter alongside savory roasted apricot tarts; and lamb chops from Colorado served with potato dauphinoise and spring vegetables.
The lamb chops will gain a northern kick with a drizzle of Yukon Jack Canadian Whiskey.
Everything will arrive to the table on official state china selected by first lady Michelle Obama last year, distinguished by its aquamarine trim.
The 200 guests will dine in the East Room surrounded by green and yellow orchids, hydrangeas and amaranth. After dinner they’ll move across to the State Dining Room, where Sara Bareilles will perform backed by a Washington children’s choir.