by Paullette Gaudet

Croquet_blogThwack! Croquet, that suburban yard game of sticks-and-wickets, is enjoying an adult resurgence, and not a moment too soon: nothing says summer like a freshly mown lawn, which is croquet's best playing field. It is believed that croquet originated in 14th century France, where peasants whacked balls through bent willow branches. In 1852 the game arrived in England via Ireland, where "crooky" had been played since the 1830's. However, it was a 19th century French doctor who gave the game of croquet its name, taken from the French word for "crooked stick." Wimbledon began hosting croquet championships in 1870, but after seven years replaced those with tournaments of the newly popular game of lawn tennis. Before becoming a backyard childhood staple, croquet was a decidedly adult game, much beloved by America's East Coast literati: indeed, croquet's official all-white attire lends it a Gatsby-esque flair. Croquet's level playing field allowed men and women to compete together equally, one of the first sports to do so. However, Boston banned the sport in 1890, to ensure that couples didn't slip off into the bushes together in search of missing croquet balls.

Host your own grown-up croquet garden party with a table tented by crisp white linens and set with blue-and-white patterned china. Verdant summer salads chilled in trays of ice will keep their crunch while players swing their mallets between frosty glasses of pinot grigio, or rosé. One to try? Our shipment's Château du Clos Sainte-Anne Rosé 2015, Bordeaux AOC, France. The basic rules of backyard croquet are genial and relaxed, just like a memorable summer afternoon—enjoy a game today!