France to deploy celebrated cuisine to ease G-7 tensions

U.S. & World

A security helicopter flies over the G7 summit venue Casino Bellevue, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019 in Biarritz, southwestern France. Leaders of the Group of Seven nations will meet Saturday for three days in the southwestern French resort town of Biarritz. France holds the 2019 presidency of the G-7, which besides the U.S. also includes Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)

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PARIS (AP) — As tensions loom over this weekend’s G-7 summit of world leaders in France, the country is counting on one key asset to cheer up the event: food.

France hosts the summit of seven advanced economies starting Saturday in the southwestern seaside resort of Biarritz, known for its surfers, casino on the beach, luxury houses from the 19th century, and gastronomic specialties.

The French presidency has chosen five local chefs, all with Michelin stars, to prepare lunches and dinners that will highlight the region’s products. It will also give U.S. President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others an opportunity to spend a convivial moment amid what are expected to be tough talks.

Local Basque specialties include Espelette chili pepper, ham, dry sausage, ewe’s cheese, traditional cream cake and wines.

Vincent Jumert, an official at the Elysee presidential palace in charge of organizing the meals, said all efforts have been made so that world leaders can spend “a nice moment around a good table with good local wines and that moment, maybe, will help unlock some little tensions and problems.”

The wines themselves might be a sore point, however: Trump has threatened to put U.S. import taxes on French wine to retaliate for France’s tax on tech companies like Google and Facebook.

France has also made a point of reducing the environmental impact of the meals served at the summit. All water will be filtered and bottled on site to avoid transporting plastic bottles.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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