WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama welcomes French President Francois Hollande to the White House on Tuesday for a state dinner.
The bash, inside a huge white tent on the South Lawn, is the first state dinner of Obama's second term.
At the dinner, guests will first enter the White House and proceed through a receiving line to be greeted inside the oval-shaped Blue Room by Obama and his wife, before exiting and boarding an old-fashioned trolley for a ride to the tent for dinner and Mary J. Blige's high-octane musical performance.
First course: American Osetra caviar, farmed from the estuaries of Illinois, paired with quail eggs from Pennsylvania and a dozen varieties of potatoes from farms in New York, Idaho and California.
Salad: Petite radishes and baby carrots on a bed of lettuce and splashed with red-wine vinaigrette made using honey from the beehive on the South Lawn.
Main course: Dry-aged rib eye beef from a farm in Greeley, Colo., with blue cheese, charred shallots, oyster mushrooms and braised chard.
Dessert: Chocolate malted cake, described as a modern version of a layer cake made with bittersweet chocolate from Obama's native Hawaii, Florida tangerines and served with vanilla ice cream from Pennsylvania.
After-dinner nibbles: Fudge made of Vermont maple syrup, shortbread cookies made with lavender from Michelle Obama's garden, cotton candy dusted with orange zest.
Wines: Morlet "La Proportion Doree" 2011 -- Napa Valley, California; Chester - Kidder Red Blend 2009 -- Columbia Valley, Washington; Thibaut-Jannison "Blanc de Chardonnay" -- Monticello, Virginia.
Morlet Family Vineyards is in St. Helena. La Proportion Doree is described as "a Bordeaux-style blend of sémillon, sauvignon blanc and muscadelle grown in Sonoma County." It is selling for $65 a bottle and up.
-- COMING STAG: Hollande came to Washington without a female companion, despite French media reports that he had been having an affair with a French actress. Coming solo on a state visit is not unheard of. Then-Chinese President Hu Jintao, who is married, came by himself on his 2011 state visit. In 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy, who preceded Hollande in office, traveled alone on his first visit to the U.S. as the leader of France. Sarkozy dined at the White House with then-President George W. Bush, but it was not a state dinner.
-- FASHION PLUS FOR MICHELLE: Hollande's companion-free visit leaves the fashion spotlight to Michelle Obama, widely regarded as a trendsetter. Trierweiler is no fashion slouch, either, and the media -- particularly in France -- were eager to take the measure of the two first ladies and their couture choices as they stood side by side in the pomp and pageantry of a red-carpeted state visit. Mrs. Obama will now have the fashion limelight all to herself. The big question remains, "Who will she wear?"
-- TARMAC RENDEZVOUS: Obama met Hollande at Andrews Air Force Base before their trip Monday to Monticello, the Charlottesville, Va., home of President Thomas Jefferson, an early U.S. envoy to France. It's a gesture he has not made for any of his other state dinner guests of honor, though such greetings once were routine. Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower used to welcome their guests at the train station or airport, but Eisenhower moved the greeting ceremony to the White House in 1957 as the pace of the visits picked up, according to Erik Goldstein, a Boston University professor who has studied state dinners given by the U.S. and other countries. Eisenhower's next scheduled visitor, Saudi Arabia's King Saud, was so offended by the change that he canceled his visit. In the end, Eisenhower agreed to meet the King at the airport, Goldstein said.
-- FIRST, BUT NOT FIRST CHOICE: Hollande is the first foreign leader of Obama's second term to be honored with a state dinner, but he was not the first choice. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff canceled her visit, which had been scheduled for last October, in a fit of pique after revelations that the U.S. had spied inside her country, including on her communications with aides. The U.S. also spied on the French, according to the documents revealed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. An angry Hollande said such behavior was unacceptable, but he wasn't outraged enough to cancel his visit.
Darlene Superville, Associated Press
Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap