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November 2, 2023 - Lifestyle

The Art of Entertaining with Polly Markus

The Art of Entertaining is your guide to effortlessly recreating our Wonderscape experience at home. From crafting a menu showcasing seasonal produce to styling a tablescape inspired by the wonder of nature, the Art of Entertaining is your guide to sipping and savouring the best of Cloudy Bay wines in the company of friends and family.

The Art of Entertaining features expert tips from our Wonderscape curators and friends of Cloudy Bay, and in this extract, foodie and tastemaker Polly Markus gives tips on bringing your long lunch to life. Renowned amongst her peers for her signature long lunches, Polly’s approach to hosting is simple: it is all about creating a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere with good food and exceptional wine at the heart of the experience.

Styling an effortless tablescape

Polly explains that the right tablescape lets the wine and food shine while making those gathered around it feel immersed in the moment.

“To achieve an effortless tablescape, add colour through in-season floral arrangements, making sure they hit no higher than the chin to not obstruct conversation,” she says.

“Consider texture and warmth through your choice of fabric and plateware. Objects with intrigue are a great way to bring interest to serveware. Using a large scallop shell for salt, pepper or butter looks beautiful.”

Glassware is also an important and simple element to change up (especially if you have help with the dishes later!). Polly recommends using different wine glasses for each course to elevate the long lunch experience.

Creating the perfect Menuscape

Warm bread is a classic starter, and it’s easy to elevate with a few simple accompaniments.

“Elevate your antipasti by warming olives and serving with fresh orange peel or lemon zest in olive oil, and serve warm bread with accompaniments such as dukkah and quality olive oil,” recommends Polly. “This sets the palette and atmosphere for what is to come.”

No matter what you’re serving, Polly always advises to stay seasonal and keep the wines in mind. While there are no rules for food pairing, you can get inspiration and tips from our website.


For your proteins, try and source interesting rubs and marinades to give dishes your own twist. Use plenty of herbs to brighten dishes, both during cooking and as a garnish. According to Polly, visuals can influence the whole experience.

“Guests eat with their eyes, so keep presentation front of mind,” she says.

And while it can be tempting to create a showstopper dessert, often your guests will relish finishing off their meal with a simple classic. It’s hard to go wrong with pavlova and plenty of berries, served with a glass of Pinot Noir.

Uplifting beats create the soundscape

“The right playlist should take your guests on a journey as they enjoy the sights, smells and tastes around them,” says Polly.

If you have a record player hiding away, this is the time to put it on display (even if you’re using a streaming service for your playlist). If you’re sticking with vinyl, make sure to plan your side and album changes, or assign someone to the job.

When it comes to the playlist, keep it cool and classy. The right background tunes set the scene and mean guests can easily converse throughout the experience.

Head over to the Journal for more tips from Polly and a host of other Cloudy Bay Curators:

Share your long lunch

We love to see your Wonderscapes. Share on your social channels, tag us and use #wonderscape

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