Years ago we were invited to the USA Embassy in Warsaw for the US Marines Ball. This is a big affair and is organized by the US Marine Corps stationed at USA Embassies each year. Each USA Embassy has a number of Marines present to ensure security inside the building. In Poland the diplomatic corps would be invited to this ball and dinner and it was lavish in terms of the food and the evening itself, I wore black tie but all the Military Attachés wore ceremonial dress.
I forget where this event was held, probably at the Marriott Hotel. The food was spectacular and truly 5 stars. At the reception before the dinner young marines, I think they were 18 served guests and they were very formal and polite in a rather sharp Marine way. There was this huge wheel of Parmesan Cheese, the wheel had a diameter of 4 feet and was 17 inches thick. It had been imported for the evening from Italy. There was quite a lot of canapés served before dinner and you had to pace yourself simply to be able to get through the meal. Everything was paired wine and food. We could take a good piece of parmesan which had been roughly cut to have with your glass of wine. It was very good and since I do enjoy eating good Parmesan that way.
The evening is hosted each year by the Marine Corps on the date of their creation as a military unit. So there are lots of speeches etc about the USA and the glory of the Corps. One element which I cannot forget and appeared very strange to me, all marines had to have a girlfriend as an escort. No such thing as a single marine and she had to be American. We were in Poland so it is not customary for Marines to bring girlfriends on assignments. It transpired when speaking with their commanding officer that the girlfriends were brought over from the USA for this evening. It was very artificial and strange, it was obvious that these young ladies were there for the purpose of presenting a heterosexual image of the Corps. Now I was told that the US taxpayer does not cover the expense of this Dinner/Ball but the Marines do. It was a fun evening if a bit stiff but then a lot of diplomatic functions are.