Upscale Tailgating

It’s a tailgate! Pop the champagne and pass the prosciutto

Tailgaters watching the Polo Match at the Bridgehampton Polo Challenge.

When you think of the ultimate tailgating experience, the first thing that may come to mind is a group of people gathered around a BBQ grilling hamburgers, hot dogs, and guzzling beers before a football game.

But in Bridgehampton, Long Island, with this year’s Bridgehampton Polo Challenge as its backdrop, upscale tailgating has become just as important as the match itself.

"This is tailgating for extremely wealthy people," said VIP tailgater Sophie Thoerner.

Like at football games, everyone tailgates differently. In Bridgehampton, some opted for Tutto Il Giorno’s $950 tailgate picnic basket, complete with gemelli pasta salad, orzo and arugula salad, and prosciutto and fontina on ciabatta.

"It’s a laid-back atmosphere with a jazzed-up picnic basket," said Alex Apparu, the executive chef of Tutto Il Giorno. The local restaurant also catered the VIP tailgate with passed hors d'oeuvres like prosciutto-wrapped melon, and a bite-size caprese salad consisting of cherry tomatoes stuffed with mozzarella and basil. "It has to be light because it’s the middle of the day," said Apparu. "It’s a quick nibble, and definitely nothing filling or something that’s going to mess up your outfit."

Servers set up the elaborate spread under the shade of crisp white tents that line the field. "It’s very upscale," said Kiernan Devenney, tailgater. Devenney pre-ordered the decadent picnic basket for himself and his friends. "It’s a sophisticated beautiful afternoon," he said.