25th Sep 2021

Chirac invited to taste Finnish and British cooking

  • A lot of plates to choose from (Photo: European Commission)

French president Jacques Chirac was invited to taste British and Finnish cuisine by politicians from the two countries dubbed on Sunday (3 July) as the worst cooks in Europe by the Elysee palace gourmande.

Mr Chirac's remarks on the quality of food, overheard at last weekend's meeting with Moscow and Berlin in Kaliningrad, have a sparked a lively debate in the Uk and Finland.

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"One cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad", French daily Le Monde quoted him as saying in hushed tones to the laughing German and Russian leaders.

"The only thing they (the Brits) have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease", added Mr Chirac. "After Finland, it is the country with the worst food".

The British prime minister refused to comment on the jokes, stressing that he was focused on his G8 summit goals instead.

"The G8 is going to focus on really important issues and to be quite honest I'm not going to disparage anybody", Mr Blair stated.

But UK opposition leader Michael Howard suggested he would be happy to prove the French president wrong about British food.

"My constituency is one of the closest in England to France ... I'd like him to come to my constituency, over to Folkestone and Hythe, and I'll take him to some restaurants that will match anything he can see in France", he said according to the BBC.

Finnish-British dinner with French wine

Meanwhile, the French president has also earned an invitation from Finnish MEP Alexander Stubb.

The member sent an open letter to Mr Chirac from his Finnish-British family, as his wife is from the UK, for a dinner at which they would "endeavour to obtain authentic Finnish and British ingredients in order to avoid disappointment".

He also advised the president, as leader of "an esteemed wine-producing country" that he could provide the wines for the dinner himself.

Food was the subject of another diplomatic gaffe in Europe recently, when Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi criticised Finnish cuisine while discussing the EU's new food authority last month.

Meanwhile, French farmers recently launched an initiative to convince the British of the merits of Europe's agricultural aid policies, by greeting UK motorists crossing the channel with organic treats.

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