President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize banquet contained dishes that are high-cuisine versions of traditional Norwegian fare: reindeer, elk, duck, and cod, with global wine pairings.
But it's likely that no one was really paying attention to the food, because the President's remarks at the Nobel ceremony earlier in the day still had the room abuzz; he'd given a driving policy speech at Oslo City Hall (the text is here). During his toast, President Obama noted the irony of a prize for peace being endowed by the man who invented dynamite, and added that "[Alfred Nobel] did know this truth: that our destinies are what we make of them, and that each of us in our own lives can do our part in order to make a more just and lasting peace and forge the kind of world that we want to bequeath to our children and our grandchildren."
The President also credited his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, with his career, thanks to "the values that she instilled in me." The banquet was held at the Grand Hotel in Oslo at 7:30 in the evening, following what the President called an "exhausting day," which included a visit with Norway's King and Queen, the Peace Prize ceremony, and a huge torchlit parade in his honor, courtesy of the citizens of Oslo and the many visitors who had descended upon the tightly-guarded city. The President and First Lady Michelle Obama watched the parade from the balcony of their room at the Grand Hotel, then went downstairs to the ballroom for the banquet, which had 250 invited guests. The President and Mrs. Obama were accompanied by half sister Maya Soetoro-Ng and her husband, Konrad Ng, plus family friends Marty Nesbit and his wife, Anita Blanchard, and Eric and Cheryl Whitaker; and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Senior Advisers David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who is also a Nobel Laureate. (At top: President Obama raises his glass in a toast; below is his place setting at the banquet).
The 2009 President Obama Nobel Peace Prize Banquet Menu
Cured Reindeer Fillet and Smoked Duck
Asparagus Salad with Truffle
Fillet of Cod from the coast of ”Møre”
Jerusalem Artichoke purée
Juniper Berry and Thyme marinated Elk
Pommes Berny and glazed Turnip
Caramel and Chocolate glazed Banana Mousse
Champagne Jacquesson Cuvée no 733
Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Émile 2004 – Trimbach
Pouilly-Fumé 2008 – André Dezat et fis
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 – Robert Mondavi
Vidal Icewine 2003 – Inniskillin Wines
Top photo above, from the banquet: President Obama and Mrs. Obama with Norwegian King Harald (2nd L) and Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland. Crown Princess Mette Marie is in background (Reuters). Above: The head of the Norwegian Nobel Institute Geir Lundestad walks in front of from left to right, Thorbjon Jagland, head of the Nobel committee, Mrs. Obama, President Obama, King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Mari.
Top: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wave from the balcony of the Grand Hotel in Oslo following the Nobel Prize Ceremony at City Hall. About 10,000 people greeted the President with a torchlight parade. Above: The President giving his Nobel Prize address (Pete Souza, White House photographer). The full text of the President's remarks at the Nobel Prize ceremony is here.
09:20: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visit Oslo City Hall to participate in the Nobel Peace Prize Signing Ceremony (in photo below).
10:00-11:00 The President will meet with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, to take place between 10:00 and 11:00. Statements to the press will follow.
12:10: President Obama and Mrs. Obama will be received in audience by King Harald and Queen Sonja at the Royal Palace. Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit will also be present.
13:00: The Nobel Prize Award ceremony will begin at the Oslo City Hall Auditorium. 1 1/2 hours. Livestreamed here.
19:00: President Obama is expected to view the traditional post-ceremony torch light parade from his balcony at the Hotel Grand, then arrive at the Nobel Prize banquet, which is at the hotel. The white tie affair has 250 invited guests. The President's speech will be televised. The rest of the banquet is closed press.
President Obama's Banquet Toast:
Related: You, too, can enjoy President Obama's Nobel Banquet. Photo: Reuters/Getty/AP.
*Updated: 8:30 PM Oslo time. Thanks to Kari Hasselknippe.