G7: taste of laid-back Cornwall on the menu for leaders

Boris Johnson’s guests are set to enjoy buttered rum, an indoor rainforest and a beach barbecue with local sea shanties

Sea shanties, buttered rum and toasted marshmallows on the beach: away from the tense negotiations at this weekend’s G7 summit, Boris Johnson is hoping to give the assembled leaders a taste of Cornwall at its laid-back best.

Emmanuel Macron hosted the 2019 G7 summit in Biarritz, but Johnson’s team believe the dramatic Cornish scenery can match the glitzy riviera resort – although not necessarily the balmy sunshine of the south of France.

Leaders are expected to be greeted on the beach at Carbis bay near St Ives on Friday by the prime minister and his new wife – the pair married on 29 May. They were pictured overlooking the sea on Thursday alongside Joe Biden and his wife, Jill. Biden later joked that both men had married “above our stations”.

Friday evening will be a relatively formal affair: the G7 leaders will attend a reception with the Prince of Wales and international business leaders at the Eden Project to discuss his “sustainable markets initiative”.

The leaders and their spouses will then meet the Queen at a reception, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also present.

The recently bereaved monarch will then leave, and the leaders will remain at the Eden Project, with its vast glass biomes and indoor rainforest, for a dinner cooked by Emily Scott of the Watergate Bay Hotel.

Simon Stallard, preparing lobsters at the Hidden Hut on Portcurnick beach
Simon Stallard, who runs the Hidden Hut on Portcurnick beach, will cater an informal barbecue for the G7 leaders. Photograph: Adrian Sherratt/The Observer

They are expected to eat spiced melon gazpacho with coconut, roasted Cornish turbot caught off Newquay – at which Johnson may have to resist a Brexit reference – a selection of Cornish cheeses, a strawberry pavlova and petits fours featuring clotted cream fudge.

On Saturday night, the G7 leaders will skirt Covid rules about indoor gatherings by taking to the beach for an informal barbecue – though unlike most beach cook-ups it will feature a fly-past by the Red Arrows.

Number 10 said catering would be by Simon Stallard of the Hidden Hut, a popular food kiosk on Porthcurnick beach. The menu will feature canapes including scallops, crab claws and mackerel, a main course of seared and smoked sirloin with lobster, and a dessert of “beach hut sundae”.

They will then be seated around firepits, and served buttered rum and toasted marshmallows. They will be serenaded by the Du Hag Owr shantymen from the Roseland peninsula – sea shanties being popular in this part of the world long before the lockdown craze brought them to the attention of a much wider audience.

Throughout the weekend, the G7 spouses including Carrie Johnson will take part in a separate itinerary of visits and events.

At Biarritz, Johnson challenged the British ambassador to Paris, his fellow Old Etonian Ed Llewellyn, to a swim around a rock just offshore. But this particular beach party appears unlikely to end up with a dip.


Heather Stewart Political editor

The GuardianTramp

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