Polly Markus' guide to hosting the perfect long lunch

It’s all in the details when it comes to curating a memorable occasion.

Produced in partnership with Cloudy Bay.
Polly Markus.

For Polly Markus, the passionate foodie behind Instagram account @miss_pollys_kitchen, hosting is about enjoying every small moment.

Partnering with Cloudy Bay to bring to life a memorable long lunch into your home, aptly titled ‘Wonderscape At Home’, Markus’ approach to hosting is simple. It’s all about creating a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere. Although great food will always leave a lasting impression, it’s equally essential to create a welcoming space for your guests. 

Read on for Markus’ advice to create an unforgettable at-home dining experience for your guests, and book your very own Wonderscape At Home experience at cloudybaycurated.co.nz

The best kind of host is a relaxed one. To be truly present with your guests, it pays to have as much prepared in advance as possible. Create lists and give yourself plenty of time for each task to minimise chaos. A relaxed atmosphere ensures your loved ones feel at home and that they get the best of you throughout the day. Lastly, always leave the dirty dishes until everyone has left; nothing kills the mood like cleaning up. 

Gathering around a table to share a meal forms connections and intimacy. The seating plan is key to keeping your guests happy and the conversation flowing. Sit extroverts next to introverts and strangers next to each other to create new bonds and friendships. You could even encourage guests to shift seats throughout the day, so they have the chance to chat to everyone and meet someone new. The host usually sits closest to the door or kitchen so they can easily get up throughout the meal. 

Lighting and scent are oh-so-important as both create a welcoming environment for your guests. Use naturally-scented candles and natural light to enhance the setting. If you’re dining outdoors, ensure that guests are protected from the elements. 

Polly Markus.

Offer a wide range of dishes on the menu, and check for dietary requirements. A protein, something starchy and a good selection of salads or vegetables will ensure there is something delicious for everyone.

On arrival, a chilled flute of Cloudy Bay Pelorus is a great way to welcome guests into your home, allowing for instant mixing and mingling. I also recommend having a few sparkling and still water pitchers on or near the table. Include slices of fruit and a mix of herbs with plenty of ice. This will help to create an aesthetically pleasing table setting.

Make sure you’ve got the right music for the occasion to create your intended vibe. Collaboration never hurts — if you have a musically inclined friend, ask them to help you curate the perfect playlist for your dining experience. 

A beautiful way to recreate the now-sold-out Wonderscape long lunch experience by Cloudy Bay in the comfort of your home, Wonderscape At Home is an indulgent offering of the best of Cloudy Bay wines, fine food, impeccable decor, and so much more. 

Wonderscape At Home is curated by tastemaker friends of Cloudy Bay, including Wonderscape host and charismatic foodie Polly Markus, stylist Kayla Jurlina, musician Sandon Ihaia, and chef Hercules Noble. 

Discover Cloudy Bay’s three limited-edition Wonderscape At Home packages, which allow you to sip and savour the best of Cloudy Bay wines in the company of friends and family. Visit cloudybaycurated.co.nz for more details. 

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