4th of July at the US Embassy 2014*

12 Jul

In 2013 I was extremely lucky to be selected to attend the Canberra US Embassy’s 4th of July celebrations and blog about it. While it was time to pass the mantle over to a new swag of local bloggers this year (Kylie, Tash and Michelle), as a bit of a thank you I got the swankiest invitation I’ve ever seen to attend as a guest! What an honour.

The above lovely ladies have done a pretty stellar job at documenting the celebrations (and got a good look behind the scenes!) – I strongly encourage you to check out the 4th of July celebrations through their eyes. As a blogger it feels odd to attend an event and not blog about it, so here’s a very quick peek at what the celebrations were like for me – as a guest!

There’s no mistaking where I’m at!

Following the necessary security checks, we’re escorted up the road to the entrance beside the main building to the celebrations. It looks somewhat similar to last year, with a range of sporting activities down the bottom end of the gardens, and a number of marquees near the main building with plenty of food and drink goodies. I’m starving and make my way to the ‘make your own’ hot dog stand.

Hot dog!

The buns are sugary – but I expect that – and the frankfurter is well cooked (but would I expect anything less?). I love being able to add my own toppings and don’t skip on the guac or the American mustard.

There’s rumours from the bloggers that the gumbo is a must try which has been made over a number of days, so we line up for a real treat.

Yes, please!

Chicken and mushroom gumbo

This chicken and mushroom gumbo is filling and heavily seasoned, with strong peppery notes throughout. I love that there’s plenty of meaty items as well as plenty of flavoursome broth. Delicious.

It’s now time for something sweet: and the peach turnovers by Louisiana chef Tory McPhail (who’s been brought to Canberra specially) are gorgeous.

Chef Tory McPhail from Commander’s Palace in New Orleans

Chef McPhail sprinkles more icing sugar over the peach turnovers

The turnovers’ pastry is crispy without being overcooked-crunchy, the filling balances tart and sweet… and yes, I manage to blow icing sugar over the place. I wish I ate more (noting I had more than my fair share!). Later, I feast on the cherries (I’m told they’re from the US). They’re HUGE – and unsurprisingly plump and juicy. Yum.

It’s time to shuffle into the main marquee, where they’re serving more local Louisiana fare – this time Abita Beers. It’s time for speeches. I’m in a prime position behind the media group, but it does make it hard to get it a shot. We’re joined by two representatives from the US Congress to help us celebrate.

My best photo of Ambassador Berry speaking

Afterwards, the band who’ve travelled down here from Hawaii start up again. They’re simply excellent.

I can’t leave the event without reacquainting myself with these soft, delicious cupcakes (three times).

So perfect. So good.

On leaving, I’m lucky enough to get my very own gift bag! Here’s the loot:

So there’s a few lollies (and lots more Tim Tam Chocolicious packs – but I was very good and shared), sunscreen, more chocolate, a magazine with US cooking recipes, a space shuttle pin and a basketball key ring. Phew! Pretty good haul, I reckon!

Thanks again to the US Embassy for letting me tag along to your biggest celebration. It’s a real honour!

Date: Wednesday, 2 July 2014 (4 July is a day off for the US Embassy staff!)

Cost: I was a guest of the US Embassy

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile

Want more? You can read my review of the 2013 celebrations here. Also check out Tash‘s, Kylie‘s and Michelle‘s excellent posts for an even deeper insight into the biggest day of the year for the US Embassy!

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2 Responses to “4th of July at the US Embassy 2014*”

  1. archetypicalone July 12, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    Reblogged this on Just another girl on a motorbike and commented:
    Sounds like a fun day!

  2. whisperinggums July 12, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

    Haha … we were driving down Adelaide Ave/Canberra Ave about 6pm that night (to a free preview screening of a great film at the Palace) when we saw fireworks from over the direction of the US Embassy. I said to Mr Gums that it must be the US Embassy having an early celebration, maybe for the kids since the fireworks were so early, with their real celebration being on the actual day – but, no, as we read in the paper the next day that was their celebration. I guess they wanted to celebrate the real day amongst themselves? Anyhow, I loved reading your report and will now go check the bloggers.

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