It has been a while since there was a foodie in the Oval Office.
But now that Barack and Michelle Obama have taken up residence in Washington, D.C., exceptional wining and dining has returned to the White House — particularly when there is a state dinner.
When they were still living and working in Chicago, the Obamas frequented some of that city’s most popular dining destinations. Favorite dishes became well known to the restaurant staffers (the President, for example, is partial to scallops).
Now, however, dining out is a bit more… complicated. So the Obamas — Michelle, in particular — work closely with the White House kitchen staff to develop menus. We’re told that Michelle even had a hand in planning the Obamas’ first formal dinner, a black-tie affair for the nation’s governors.
The menu demonstrates the First Lady’s knowledge of food and wine, including the sometimes challenging pairing process. Take a look at the four courses served that night:
* Chesapeake Crab Agnolottis with Roasted Sunchokes. Wine pairing: 2007 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc (California).
* Wagyu Beef and Nantucket Scallops with Glazed Red Carrots, Portobello Mushroom and Creamed Spinach. Wine pairing: 2004 Archery Summit Estate Pinot Noir (Oregon).
* Winter Citrus Salad with Pistachios and Lemon Honey Vinaigrette.
* Huckleberry Cobbler with Caramel Ice Cream. Wine pairing: 2007 Black Star Farms “A Capella” Riesling Ice Wine (Michigan).
And Mrs. Obama is appreciative of the work that the White House kitchen staff does in a surprisingly small space.
“This is where the magic happens,” she told six culinary school students visiting the White House. “No one would expect that all that comes out of these dinners happens in this little bitty space.”