Merkel and Hollande friends only when the cheese tray comes around
What's the best way to celebrate 50 years of peace and friendship between France and Germany? Fireworks... a parade? Perhaps. Or better yet, how about inviting the top 20 chefs from the kitchens of presidential and royal palaces to spend an evening chewing the fat.
That's exactly what German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and new Socialist French President, François Hollande, will be doing this week to mark the 35th anniversary of the exclusive Le Club des Chefs des Chefs (CCC).
The CCC is a club for all the chefs who cook for the people who really count -- the heads of states from all over the world. Merkel will kick things off in Berlin as of Wednesday and Hollande will take over in Paris on Sunday.
Founded in 1977 by then French couturier Gilles Bragard, who was designing chef’s jackets at the time, he believed bringing together the top state chefs could in fact unite people.
“Politics divides men, but a good meal unites them,” Bragard once said. As has been the case for Merkel and Hollande, who have yet to agree on the best approach to solving the euro crisis, but are united in their love of cheese.
The state chefs often have a difficult job of trying to prepare meals for their respective leaders who may have very specific preferences. For Merkel and first lady Michelle Obama, that means a menu full of vegetables.
Former French president François Mitterrand adored seafood and foie gras and generally anything from the southwest, whereas Nicolas Sarkozy banned cheese from meals at the Elysée. Hollande has since brought back cheese, but has voiced his distaste for artichokes.