Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Obamas And The Camerons Exchange Gifts To Mark The Official Visit

The Obama's gifts to the Camerons are foodcentric: A very special BBQ grill, bounty from the First Lady's Kitchen Garden, White House Chefs Jackets...
To mark British Prime Minister David Cameron's two-day Official Visit to President Obama, the two families exchanged gifts on Wednesday. They were all personalized, and the two largest--a customized table tennis table and an impressive, tricked-out barbecue grill--were reminders of outings the leaders enjoyed last May, when the President and First Lady Obama traveled to the United Kingdom for a State Visit. (Above: Mr. Cameron signs the Guest Book on Wednesday in the Blue Oval Room, as the President, Mrs. Obama, and Mrs. Samantha Cameron look on)

The President and Mrs. Obama's gifts to the Camerons were all about food and gardening. In a nod to a BBQ for US and UK troops the two couples hosted at 10 Downing Street last year, they presented the Camerons with a one-of-a-kind, Braten 1000 Series Grill, hand made by Engelbrecht Grills and Cookers, a small company in Paxton, Illinois, the President's home state as a Senator. It features American and British flags, an inscription plaque, and special add ons, including a smoker compartment. (Above: The President and Mr. Cameron cooked sausages and burgers during the BBQ)

So the Camerons can BBQ in style, the gift also included two White House chef jackets, each featuring American and British flags, the Presidential seal, and the Camerons' names embroidered above the crest.

During a lunch for Mr. Cameron at the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton described the grill as "a real, down-home American barbeque with a smoking compartment and everything else."

There was also a gift for Mrs. Cameron of a crystal honey vase with honey collected from the White House Beehive, and Chamomile seeds harvested from the the First Lady's Kitchen Garden, as well as a custom candle "inspired by the White House." Diplomatic gifts from the Kitchen Garden have become an Obama custom. The "Winter Harvest" State Dinner on Wednesday evening, with the them of "America's Backyard," starred produce from the Kitchen Garden.

The three Cameron children, who did not accompany their parents, received "personalized American made bean bag chairs, each featuring the Presidential Seal and the child’s name embroidered," the White House said. No photos were released of the Presidential gifts.

10 Downing Street released the photo above of the impressive table tennis table, created by Dunlop, that the Prime Minister and Mrs. Cameron presented to the Obamas, an insider joke about the President and Prime Minister's table tennis skills, which were the subject of headlines when they got trumped by highschoolers during a game last May in London.

The table features a special inscription, "Presented to President Obama by Prime Minister David Cameron, March 2012," and has the American flag and the Union Jack in two corners. The gift is "complete with UK and US flag bats," according to 10 Downing Street.

"It was selected as the pair had played against pupils at Globe Academy school in London, during the President's state visit to the UK last year," the Prime Minister's Office said.

Mrs. Cameron, who enjoys as much obsessive coverage of her fashion choices in UK media as Mrs. Obama does in the American press, gave the First Lady a Jonathan Saunders Victoriana printed scarf in blue. "The scarf is part of the Cruise ’12 collection, which is inspired by elegant Victorian wallpapers," according to the Prime Minister's office.

The Obama children received a set of books published by Penguin/Puffin. "These include British classics suitable for their age and in customised sleeves. One set is Penguin clothbound classics, the other Penguin designer classics," according to the Prime Minister's Office.

From the White House and 10 Downing Street, a description of the gifts:

The President and Mrs. Obama gave the Prime Minister and Mrs. Cameron a one-of-a-kind Braten 1000 Series Grill hand made by Engelbrecht Grills and Cookers of Paxton, Illinois. Symbolizing the personal friendship between the President and Mrs. Obama and Prime Minister and Mrs. Cameron, the gift commemorates their May 2011 visit to 10 Downing Street where together they grilled and served food to American and British Armed Service Members.

An American classic, the wood and charcoal burning grill is customized with American and British friendship flags engraved into the utility shelf and a personalized plaque mounted on the exterior lid. The grill and all its component parts are made in the United States and Engelbrecht Grills and Cookers has been praised for its environmentally friendly practices. The gift also includes two White House chef jackets each featuring American and British flags, and the Great Seal. Prime Minister and Mrs. Cameron’s names are embroidered onto the front of their individual jacket.

Mrs. Obama gave Mrs. Cameron an original crystal honey vase with honey collected from the South Lawn of the White House hand-etched with the words “White House Honey” onto the front side of the vase. Chamomile seeds harvested from the White House kitchen garden and a custom candle inspired by the White House were also presented.

Each of Prime Minister and Mrs. Cameron’s children received personalized American made bean bag chairs, each featuring the Presidential Seal and the child’s name embroidered.

The Prime Minister will present the President and his family with a customised Dunlop table tennis table complete with UK and US flag bats.

The gift was selected as something that the whole Obama family could enjoy and to commemorate President Obama’s state visit to the UK last May when the President and Prime Minister teamed up to play pupils at table tennis at the Globe Academy school in south London.

Founded in 1886, Dunlop is a truly British company which operates in over 70 countries. It is the most successful sports brand of the 20th century and a fitting gift for the occasion as we approach the London 2012 Olympics.

In addition, Mrs Cameron has given the First Lady a Jonathan Saunders Victoriana printed scarf in blue. The scarf is part of the Cruise ’12 collection, which is inspired by elegant Victorian wallpapers.

The children have been given a set of books published by Penguin/Puffin. These include British classics suitable for their age and in customised sleeves. One set is Penguin clothbound classics, the other Penguin designer classics.
##

CLICK HERE for links to all posts about the Camerons' Official Visit.

*Top photo by Pete Sousa/White House; second courtesy 10 Downing Street