SEOUL, South Korea – When it comes to tea time in South Korea, nothing is too good for the U.S. leader and his wife.
South Korea's first lady made special refreshments for President Donald Trump and wife Melania to enjoy during their visit on Tuesday: dried persimmons stuffed with walnuts and coated with chocolate.
A dried persimmon, called "ggotgam" in Korean, is a traditional local delicacy and is still used as a popular gift item in modern South Korea. But the addition of walnuts and chocolate makes it a rarity that most South Koreans have likely never tasted.
First lady Kim Jung-sook, known to be a good cook, personally picked persimmons from trees raised at Seoul's mountainside presidential Blue House and dried them for several weeks under the compound's eaves. She later put walnuts into the persimmons before coating them with chocolate with the help of a food specialist, according to South Korea's presidential office.
Kim, the wife of President Moon Jae-in, put in "extreme care" for the food to show "the highest level of courtesy" toward the Trumps and made them just hours before they were served during a tea break to maintain their freshness, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
Served with the persimmons were cups of black tea blending hydrangeas grown on a mountain in South Korea's eastern alpine ski town of Pyeongchang, the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics, with Asian and Western herbs. The tea is dubbed "serene morning of Pyeongchang," according to the presidential office.
Before the tea break, while their husbands held summit talks, the first ladies strolled around a garden at the Blue House, with Kim telling Melania Trump about Korean wild flowers. The two women also met dozens of children who were invited to the Blue House and placed on their necks scarves in red, white and blue, the colors of the South Korean and U.S. flags.
Known to Moon's supporters as "Joyful Jung-sook," the 62-year-old Kim, a vocal music major in college, often sang songs in support of her husband at public events before Moon, a 64-year-old former human rights lawyer, won May's presidential election.
They went to the same Seoul university, and Kim has said that she met Moon on a blind date arranged by a friend who said Moon resembled French actor Alain Delon. In his memoir, Moon said he had told Kim that he was probably destined to enter Kyung Hee University only to meet his future wife, who treated him when he was struck by pepper fog during a pro-democracy rally in the 1970s.