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White House reveals dinner menu for state dinner with Kenyan president

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President Biden and first lady Jill Biden are preparing to host Kenya, the first African nation in nearly 14 years, for a state dinner Thursday at the White House, with a menu that includes lavish items like butter-poached lobster and a white chocolate basket with banana ganache, raspberries, peaches and candied lime zest.

The U.S. considers a state dinner as one of the most glamorous events organized by the White House for a visiting head of government or reigning monarch and has been used in the past to show diplomatic unity.

Biden invited Kenyan President William Ruto to the White House for a three-day state visit to recognize the East African nation as a major non-NATO ally.

Kenya is sending 1,000 police officers to Haiti as part of a U.N.-led effort to address the security crisis in the country. Kenya is also the first African nation since 2008 to be honored by the U.S. with a state visit.

During the visit, Ruto and his wife, Rachel Ruto, will be the guests of honor during a formal black-tie event at the White House.

‘[Thursday] night, we mark the 60th anniversary of the United States’ partnership with Kenya with an elegant dinner under the stars, in a pavilion made almost entirely of glass, looking up at our one sky,’ Jill Biden said. ‘While outside, night surrounds us, inside, guests will be brought together over the glow of candles, in a space saturated with warm pinks and reds.’

The White House, under the direction of the first lady, organized the event and planned the dinner menu.

To start out, diners will be served chilled heirloom tomato soup with sourdough crisps and arbequina olive oil.

They will then move on to fruitwood-smoked beef short ribs and butter-poached lobster with citrus butter, baby kale and sweet corn purée.

Dessert will include a white chocolate basket with banana ganache, raspberries, peaches and candied lime zest.

Three wines will be served during dinner, including a Hartford Court Chardonnay from the Four Hearts Vineyard, a pinot noir from St. Innocent Winery, and an Iron Horse Classic Vintage Brut sparkling wine.

Entertainment will include the Howard Gospel Choir and Brad Paisley, in honor of President and First Lady Ruto’s love of gospel and country music.

‘As guests leave, their path illuminated by our one moon, I hope they will be filled with that same warmth I felt on my visits to Kenya — that of a friendship that will endure, helping create a shining and prosperous tomorrow,’ Jill Biden said. ‘Every detail of this state dinner has been thoughtfully planned by so many people from across our government — Joe and I could not have asked for a better team.’

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