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

Cornish fudge and other foods on display in a shop window
Cornish specialities in a local shop: Carbis Bay may not be as glamorous as Biarritz but it offers tasty treats as well as dramatic scenery. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters
Cornish specialities in a local shop: Carbis Bay may not be as glamorous as Biarritz but it offers tasty treats as well as dramatic scenery. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters
Political editor

Last modified on Thu 10 Jun 2021 23.37 EDT

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”.

Quick Guide

Timetable for G7 meetings in Cornwall

Show

Wednesday: UK prime ministerBoris Johnson travels down to Cornwall after prime minister’s questions in parliament. US President Joe Biden arrives in the UK

Thursday: Johnson and Biden hold a bilateral meeting at an undisclosed Cornish location

Friday: G7 leaders arrive and the summit begins. Joining the US and the UK will be leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

Saturday: discussions continue – topics expected to be covered over the weekend include climate change, the challenge posed by China and Russia, the recovery from Covid, and the urgent need to vaccinate the world’s population

Sunday: final summit communique published, leaders hold press conferences before departing for a NATO summit in Brussels on Monday

Was this helpful?

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.