Donnerstag, Juli 05, 2007

Embassy hosts Texan-style Independence Day

President Bush would have felt at home at the United States embassy in Bern on Wednesday, where Independence Day was celebrated with a huge Texan barbecue.

A close friend of the US president, and like him a Texan, ambassador Peter Coneway wanted to give his guests a taste of his state: no less than 300 kilos of Texan beef had been specially imported for the occasion.

In addition to the brisket - smoked for two days in Switzerland – 150 kilos of Texan sausage, and 60 kilos of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream satisfied the appetites of the 500 invitees.

The event was held out of doors under a sky alternating between rain and sun. After the obligatory playing of the Star Spangled Banner, a capella group the Tigertones took to the stage for a series of classical jazz numbers.

Coneway, an investment banker in Houston for nearly 40 years, wished his guests a good party, but asked them also to take time to think about their compatriots "who are far from home defending the values upon which the United States was founded – values, incidentally, that we share with Switzerland".
Swiss white wine was served up with the Texan beef

Criticism of US

Coneway took up his post in Switzerland last September. swissinfo asked him what had surprised him most about the country. "I don't mean this negatively, but I was surprised how much media criticism there was of the US," the diplomat replied.

Were things better now, almost one year later? "I think so," he said with a smile.

Coneway said he loved the Swiss outdoors and landscape. " And the discipline and work ethic."

That Swiss discipline was evident in the polite queues formed by diplomats, military attachés and others in front of the serving tables. No one was impolite enough to approach the dessert stand until the main course was out of the way.

As she waited for the onslaught, Ferrell Maguire poured hot chocolate sauce over scoops of vanilla ice cream. Was the chocolate also Texan? "No, that's Swiss," she laughed.

swissinfo, Christophe Giovannini

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