A century of friendship and shared values will be front and centre in the decor and the menu for Anthony Albanese’s elaborate state dinner at the White House.
But a more telling sign of the close relationship between Australia’s Prime Minister and US President Joe Biden was a private dinner with their partners, Jodie Haydon and Jill Biden, the only other guests on Tuesday night.
“Good to see you again, my friend @potus. Thank you for the warm welcome”, Mr Albanese wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
Mr Biden invited Mr Albanese for the state visit after cancelling a visit to Australia in May.
In a social media post, Mr Albanese uploaded a 17 second video of himself being greeted by President Biden and his wife, as well as three images featuring the two world leaders and their partners, the group having dinner, and the Prime Minister and his US counterpart enjoying a drink and laughing together.
Despite a request to Mr Albanese’s ministerial office, it’s not known what beverages the two men were enjoying.
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) October 25, 2023
But Wednesday night’s state dinner will showcase to the world the US regard for Australia.
The menu and some details were released on Wednesday Australian time.
Sadly earlier plans to have the 1980s band the B-52s perform have been shelved.
The new wave band were slated to perform on the south lawn but First Lady Jill Biden revealed they will attend as guests only.
“We are now in a time when so many are facing sorrow and pain. So we made a few adjustments to the entertainment portion of the evening,” she said.
President Biden’s own Marine Band and the Army and Air Force’s strolling strings will now provide “instrumental music” for the dinner.
The White House will welcome Mr Albanese and Ms Haydon for a night of pomp and ceremony as the leaders attend the black-tie dinner.
An all-female team, led by guest chef Katie Button, will prepare a three course meal for the Prime Minister and other dignitaries.
On the menu is a first course of farro and roasted beet salad with popped sorghum, herb vinaigrette; butternut squash soup with smoked paprika, candied pumpkin seeds.
The main course will be Sarsaparilla-braised short ribs; sorghum-glazed young carrots, brussels sprouts, celery root puree, carrot jus.
And for dessert: hazelnut and chocolate mousse cake, creme fraiche ice cream.
Mr Albanese will be treated to a wine list which will include Windracer Chardonnay “Alexander Mountain” 2019; Sequel Syrah Columbia Valley 2019; Argyle Extended Tirage Brut 2012.
Dr Biden said Australia’s “vibrant” spring and the “crisp American autumn” served as inspiration for the dinner.
“Nurturing our partnerships and relationships with our allies is critically important. Especially in these tumultuous times,” she said.
“Food is comforting, reassuring and healing. And we hope that this dinner provides a little of that as well.”
During the visit, Mr Albanese said the friendship between Australia and the US “has stood so tall it even extends beyond our planet”.
“Like the stars above us, the Australia-US alliance was born in darkness, during the Second World War – but it has lit our way ever since,” he said at the opening of Australia’s new embassy in Washington.
“Ours is a true friendship and true friendship is built on honesty – which means we have the strength and the freedom to tell each other what needs to be said, even if there are times when the message isn’t as instantly loveable as an episode of Bluey.”
What will be served:
-A first course of farro and roasted beet salad with popped sorghum, herb vinaigrette; butternut squash soup with smoked paprika, candied pumpkin seeds.
-The main course will be Sarsaparilla-braised short ribs; sorghum-glazed young carrots, brussels sprouts, celery root puree, carrot jus.
-And for dessert: hazelnut and chocolate mousse cake, creme fraiche ice cream.