Beautiful blue skies, cool breezes, great food, good friends, an intriguing athletic event and a chilled glass of Champagne, its Sunday during winter season of the International Polo Club Palm Beach. Sunday Brunch, at The Pavilion on the eastern side of the polo field, gives you a close up view of the action on the field and a wide assortment buffet items to enjoy. It is a delightful way to spend a Sunday afternoon whether you are a polo enthusiast or not.
Polo is a fast paced game played with two teams of four horseback riders. Sticks that look like large croquet mallets are used by the players to moved a hard ball down the field and through the goals posts. The field is 300 yards by 160 yards of manicured grass, equivalent to nine football field. It is the largest field of play in any professional sport. There are six chukkers, or periods of play, with a 10 minute half time between the third and fourth chukker. Each chukker is 7.5 minutes of aggressive, heart stopping play. The players change horses at the end of each chukker at a minimum, to keep the horses fresh. There are at least 52 horses playing in each match, including the two horses for the referees. The speed (up to 35 mph) and the agility of the horses and riders is an impressive athletic feat.
There are Grand Stands and general admission seats, as well as tailgating bays available for all the Sunday matches. If you are interested in people watching as well as polo watching, try the splurge worthy Brunch at The Pavillon. Start at the outdoor bar just outside the pavilion for a glass of the bubbly and some excellent people watching. From this vantage point you have a great view of festooned hats and festive blazers entering the Brunch, as well as the set up for tailgates on the sidelines. All while you enjoy the beauty of a South Florida Sunday afternoon, in winter.
All seating for the brunch is on a covered patio, only two feet from the field. You have an excellent view of everything happening on the field. The atmosphere is festive and energetic as people visit with their friends in sundresses, colorful hats and tropical hued shirts. The Brunch opens at 2 pm and the match starts at 3 pm. You have plenty of time to explore the grounds before the match begins. During the first half of the match, most people are socializing and enjoying the buffet.
The buffet is truly lavish. There are large iced dishes of shrimp, lobster and oysters. Along one wall is an array of prepared salads and a complete salad bar. The center of the room is filled with traditional brunch items, including Eggs Benedict and an assortment of lunch items, including lamb chops. Along the back wall are "made to order" stations that offer customized eggs, omelets and pastas. Don’t miss the dessert table. There are mini versions of every sugar lovers dream. I love the mini versions, so you can taste more that one thing without feeling guilty.
Don’t dally too long at the dessert table, because you do not want to miss the tradition of stomping the divots at half time. The announcer invites everyone out to the field to replace the divots created during the first half. As a reward for all your hard work, there is a glass of champagne waiting for you at the center of the field.
Sunday Brunch at The Pavilion is a fun, splurge worthy way to enjoy a unique equestrian event. You can get more information on dates and ticket prices at www.internationalpoloclub.com