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Premium Food Gate: The clunky name doesn’t give much away but that makes a visit to this superb destination store at Warsaw Chopin Airport all the more surprising.
I was in Poland last week for the unveiling of Lagardère Travel Retail’s new commercial operations – straddling duty free & luxury, news & convenience (which the company calls travel essentials) and food & drinks. And one of the undoubted highlights was this first-of-its-kind gourmet destination store at the heart of the airside arena. It houses the wares of 65 independent Polish producers, many of them small independents that would otherwise have no route to a wider international (or even national) audience.
The offer includes some beautifully smoked cheeses and meats, available from the front-of-house deli counter that is staffed by a hugely knowledgeable team; preserves that melt in your mouth and mustards and pickles that encapsulate Polish flavour at its best.
There are Wedel artisanal chocolates from a brand that may be little known outside its home country but that deserves greater recognition; and surprise best-sellers in the Polish wine range.
This is a terrific upscale store that showcases the best of Poland to a tee, with some lovely design touches and talking points, not least the installation of an iconic Syrena R-20 car from the Soviet era, renovated for this location, which attracted regular impromptu photo shoots and selfies from passers-by.
There’s a lot more besides in the Lagardère Travel Retail offer: we liked the Chopin and Zubrowka themed vodka offers in the main liquor store, the vast Polish vodka wall, the classy P&C store, the debut of a new Samsung concept, plus many of the new dining concepts operated by the Paris-based travel retailer. But Premium Food Gate, serving a category that is too often represented without enthusiasm or commitment at airports, will live long in the memory – we look forward to its roll-out to new locations across the network.