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Gazpacho on the menu as Michelle Obama hosts G-8 spouses at White House

First Lady Michelle Obamfrom right Hitomi Nodwife Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko NodValerie Trierweiler partner French President Francois Hollande listen White

First Lady Michelle Obama, from right, Hitomi Noda, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, and Valerie Trierweiler, partner of French President Francois Hollande, listen to the White House curator during a tour with spouses of the G-8 leaders at the White House in Washington Saturday, May 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

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Updated: May 19, 2012 12:50PM

WASHINGTON — While President Barack Obama hosted world leaders Saturday for high-level economic talks at Camp David, Michelle Obama engaged in some soft diplomacy with their spouses.

The first lady hosted a tour of the White House on Saturday for the spouses of the Group of Eight leaders. White House curator Bill Allman led the tour, which included stops in the East Room, where the visitors viewed portraits of George and Martha Washington, and the State Dining Room.

During a walk through the Grand Foyer, Mrs. Obama, wearing a purple sundress, explained how the president walks through the long hallway into the East Room for news conferences and other events.

Following the tour, Mrs. Obama and the G-8 spouses gathered in the White House Blue Room for a lunch prepared by renowned chef Jose Andres.

On the menu: gazpacho; Maryland rockfish with asparagus, grapefruit, Virginia berries, greens from the White House garden and caramelized olive oil; and tangerine sorbet with Virginia strawberries.

Mrs. Obama was joined by several new faces on the international political stage, including Elsa Antonioli Monti, whose husband, Mario, took over as Italy’s prime minister late last year, and Valerié Trierweiler, the partner of newly sworn-in French President Francois Hollande. Italy and France are among the countries where economic turmoil has led to political shake-ups.

On Saturday evening, Mrs. Obama was to travel with the president to Chicago for the national security-focused NATO summit.

The first lady will host gatherings for the spouses of NATO leaders, including an event at a youth center and a dinner at the Art Institute of Chicago.

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