Which food best represents your state

The fine art of protocol : Have a nice meal with the President

No dinner party anywhere. This doesn't just apply to normal people. There has also been a break at the state banquets since the beginning of Corona. Bernhard von der Planitz, head of protocol for many years, can well imagine what that means. After all, he has spent years of his life creating a good atmosphere in which relations between countries and their representatives can be brought on a constructive path and succeed. Such an atmosphere is made up of many details. Excellent dishes that also match the taste of the guest are not the only decisive factor in making them feel good. A smooth process also helps, but is by no means a matter of course if state guests suddenly have spontaneous ideas or wishes. In return, you can get to know each other better during the table discussions and inconspicuously tap the terrain for further plans and concerns.

Learning for your own dinner parties

Anyone who wants to learn from the big ones for their own dinners, which will hopefully be possible again soon, can read the paperback edition of Knut Bergmann's “Make a state with wine. A History of the Federal Republic of Germany ”and get appropriate suggestions. Bernhard von der Planitz, like Martin Löer, is one of the protocol professionals in this story of the Federal Republic of Germany, told on the basis of top social events, who talk entertainingly about customs and of course mishaps.

The mishaps of the professionals

Probably the best known in Berlin, where Hape Kerkeling disguised herself as Queen Beatrix was chauffeured to Bellevue Palace, naturally plays a role. The initially successful attempt by a member of the Chinese opposition movement Falun Gong to smuggle in at the reception for the Chinese president fell into the same category. From the fluctuating shape of the Königshof hotel in Bonn to the work of top Berlin chefs at Bellevue Palace, you can also learn a lot about how to imagine “having a delicious meal with the President”. Bill Clinton's flying visit to the Gugelhof in Prenzlauer Berg set unforgettable standards in popular casualness in 2000. The ride through cultural history, which begins with eating together not only with the youngsters, but also with strangers, is followed by insights into the social accents of the German presidents and chancellors.

Boring empress

Not all of them were wine lovers like Konrad Adenauer, whose delegation sometimes took olive oil in order to make it more drinkable. A picture of Theodor Heuss chatting with the Persian Empress Soraya over champagne, who later described his conversation partner as boring, proves that not everything looks shiny. The descriptions of the mishaps are entertaining and comforting for hosts who think they have already embarrassed themselves. Gifts, such as the picture of a blue pony for the Queen, are particularly susceptible to this, but so are the circumstances that cause someone to miss a plane. The fact that culinary preferences do not depend on origin or party affiliation should also make private hosts aware that it is worth doing a little research before bringing guests to your own table. How a conscious modesty in state representation in Germany can still be combined with enjoyment and, of course, the display of exquisite German products is described in detail and in an entertaining way.

Salem Castle inspired

The author Knut Bergmann believes that his high school diploma in the Schloss Salem boarding school sparked “interest in things that support the state”. After the political scientist with a doctorate initially worked as an office manager for the talk show host Sabine Christiansen, in 2005 he switched to the policy department of the Federal President's Office. At first it was the subject of medals that particularly interested him. After all, through his work, he always got to know great people, for whose unselfish commitment no one ever said “thank you”. During the preparation of the domestic appointments for the then Federal President Horst Köhler, he met with the ministers from time to time.

The love of wine

As a wine lover, he was fascinated by the Bellevue Castle wine cellar. Should one still serve guests today, as was quite common in the past, good wines from other countries? He has a clear answer to that. A wine-growing nation has enough of its own crops to offer. Knut Bergmann is now in charge of communications at the Institute for German Economy. He also cultivates his passion as a lecturer at the University of Bonn. The title of his seminar is: "State Representation".

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