After a long day of discussing the world’s most pressing problems at the Group of Seven summit on Saturday, leaders will relax around bonfires on the beach while they drink hot buttered rum, feast on toasted marshmallows and baked Brie, and are serenaded with sea shanties.
And that’s just the dessert course. The three-day summit in Cornwall, England, will also serve as an opportunity for Britain to show off its finest cuisine — and demonstrate that it has more to offer than jellied eel and beans on toast. In keeping with the goal of making the event “carbon-neutral,” most ingredients will come from within a 100-mile radius.
Friday night’s five-course dinner will begin with a melon gazpacho, followed by a roasted Cornish turbot caught by a local fisherman and served alongside locally grown new potatoes, greens and wild garlic pesto. Finishing out the meal will be a selection of three Cornish cheeses, a dessert course featuring strawberry Pavlova and a final course comprising of a selection of petit fours that includes a miniature ice cream cone and fudge made from clotted cream, along with chocolate Earl Gray truffles.
Turbot, a type of flounder found off Britain’s coast, became a subject of contention last year when disputes over fishing rights erupted amid Brexit negotiations. The dish was served in Brussels in December, when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met to smooth over their differences.
On Saturday, the last night of the summit, leaders will gather for a slightly more informal “barbecue” on the beach. The menu includes canapés of scallops, mackerel and crab claws, and a surf-and-turf meal of seared sirloin, lobsters, broccoli, beets and potato chips — all from local purveyors.
Ice cream sundaes will be served before the marshmallows and baked Brie, and Cornish sparkling wine will be on offer, along with German riesling and Australian Shiraz.
The lavish, dairy-heavy menu was mocked by the Spectator, which noted that Johnson has been promoting an anti-obesity campaign, speaking openly about his weight loss and urging Britons to eat fewer fatty foods. “Looks like the G7 is following Boris in being pro-having cake and pro-eating it,” the paper’s gossip columnist wrote.
For other meals during the summit, world leaders will be able to choose from such options as haggis mousse and lamb sweetbreads stuffed with seaweed, along with more mainstream dishes like Dover sole. Adam Handling, the Scottish chef who came up with the menu, told iNews that he plans to incorporate weeds and offal to make the meals truly sustainable and zero-waste.
“I think a lot of chefs play it safe in these situations, but I want to showcase what we can do and promote U.K. produce,” he said, adding that Britain is “still known for roast dinner and fish and chips.”
One of the more unusual options on the menu will be Handling’s signature dish, a dessert made from salt-baked celeriac root, truffled cream cheese, confit egg yolks, limes and dates that he invented for his mother.
“If it’s good enough for my mum, it’s good enough for the world leaders,” he told iNews.
Meals that prominently feature local ingredients — prepared using avant-garde methods — have become a staple of the G-7. In 2019, France held a dinner that showcased the traditional food and drink of Basque country, including a stew made from line-caught tuna and some 680 bottles of wine. In 2018, when Canada hosted, the dishes served at the summit incorporated Arctic lichen and maple leaves.