Have a classic English garden party this summer… in Poland

By Michael Dembinski, head of policy, BPCC (who also writes about life in Warsaw at

When it comes to entertaining in the open air in summer, the traditional British garden party differs significantly from the Polish grill, where the barbequed kiełbasa washed down with beer is standard fare. If you’re an ex-pat Brit and wish to bring a flavour of the English summer garden – or you’re a Polish foodie looking for new experiences, stock up at Marks & Spencer’s food halls for those items – most of which are unavailable elsewhere – selected to give your open air party a real taste of the English countryside.


Take perry, for instance. Now, cider is virtually unknown in Poland – puzzling that, given the country’s renown as an apple grower. Even among Poles in the know, cider is rather associated with Normandy cidre, higher in alcohol content than English ciders, indeed more of an apple wine.

But perry – a cider-strength beverage brewed from pears rather than apples – is entirely unknown in Poland. Cider and perry are both quintessentially English summer drinks, and their chilled, fruity tang quench thirsts more effectively than wine and are more appealing to the ladies than beer.

Other drinks that Marks & Spencer can offer to give a decidedly English flavour to your garden party are alcohol-free cordials – organic elderflower or strawberry, for instance. Again – things you’ll not find anywhere else in Poland!

Fine white wines are another essential ingredient to the quintessential English garden party. Chilled white sherry – a classic. “Another glass, vicar?” If you really want to push the boat out – a bottle of the sublime Puligny Montrachet… mmmm!

But it’s not just about drinks; certain foodstuffs and condiments are so very British… how could you serve cheese and biscuits without a decent chutney to slather over it? And another question for those pondering why Poland – a great apple-growing nation – doesn’t produce cider – is why Poland doesn’t pickle onions? Marks & Spencer offer pickled baby onions that bring back the taste of Blighty to expats, while offering their Polish guests a certain zing that has hitherto not been known in these parts of Europe!

The essence of successful summer entertaining is to offer your guests some unforgettable taste experiences; here Marks & Spencer comes to your aid with its Terribly Clever cooking sauces – for lamb mince (there’s another British culinary staple that you won’t find in your local spożywczy!) and fish. Memories your forefathers would have had of hill-station garden parties in far-flung outposts of the Raj…

But back to your expat garden party… snacks need to be on hand too – reduced-fat four cheese and red onion crisps, sea-salt pretzels, Delphi olives – all available at Marks & Spencer.

And don’t forget the tableware. There’s a wide choice of attractive, distinctive and durable bowls, glasses and lamps on offer.

So pop into Marks & Spencer and give your summer garden party a real taste of England.

Baby onions 5.90 zł
Chutney 9.99 zł
Reduced fat four cheese and red onion crisps 6.99 zł
Sea salt and pepper pretzels 5.99 zł
Sparkling organic cordials 9.99 zł
Delphi olives 19.99 zł
Manzanilla sherry 32 zł
Puligny Montrachet 185 zł
Vintage cider 11 zł
Organic perry 13 zł