|President Xi tucks into Lyon delicacies
President Xi Jinping began his trip to France yesterday with a selection of Beaujolais wine, saucisson and cheese shortly after arriving in Lyon, the French gastronomic capital, AFP reports.
Xi headed to Lyon's stately town hall soon after landing in the evening for a lavish three-course meal accompanied by his wife Peng Liyuan, who wore a black and gray traditional Chinese dress and a black shawl wrapped around her shoulders.
The couple are in France for a three-day visit marking 50 years of full diplomatic ties between the two countries that is due to be dominated by the signing of several big business contracts.
They began with a 16-hour tour of Lyon, a former silk center that forged links with China from the 16th century that have endured until now.
Before sitting down for dinner in the town hall, Xi and his wife were treated to some of the region's most famous delicacies by local producers.
Cheese, saucisson, Beaujolais wine, fine chocolate – Xi went from stall to stall, sampling the delicacies.
“Try some'', he told his wife, after taking a bite of Beaufort, an Alpine cheese.
“No I'm OK, I won't taste any,'' she responded, smiling.
Next up: a three-course meal at a gala dinner attended by many dignitaries from Lyon and other parts of France.
Sea bass with lobster sauce, thyme and hay-flavored lamb followed by caramelized brioche with berries were on the menu.
In the morning today he is due to visit a laboratory just outside Lyon belonging to biotechnology firm bioMerieux, which has a strong presence in China.
Just before leaving for Paris, he will also visit the Franco-Chinese Institute – which when it opened in Lyon in 1921 became the first Chinese university abroad and trained many promising students who went on to become top officials in their country.