Panzer’s Deli is in the heart of North West London, in St John’s Wood. It first opened in 1944 and has remained a local treasure trove for food from around the world to this very day.
This year, they launched their first ever in-house florist where they created the vibrant floral displays for a recent brunch we hosted in collaboration with Anna Barnett, London-based food writer.
We chatted to their resident florist, Vaida, to ask her why Panzer’s Deli branched out into floristry, and for her tips on being creative with seasonal flowers.
Q. Vaida, could you tell us a bit about Panzer’s Deli and how and why it branched out into the floristry industry?
Panzer’s first opened its doors as a deli in 1944 and is now very much a food hall with coffee bar, breakfast menu, greengrocer, catering, deli, cheese and charcuterie counters, and now with a florist on site. Panzer’s Flowers launched earlier this year in response to repeated customer requests. Creating beautiful flowers while you shop is really time efficient and we're also always on hand to discuss any events you might have coming up which need a bespoke floral solution.
Q. You recently created some beautiful displays for our shoot and brunch with Anna Barnett, can you tell us a bit about the flowers you used and why?
The inspiration for the displays began with Anna, who wanted to create an ombre arrangement that changed from bright white on one end of the table through to a vibrant orange on the other. We knew this would contrast beautifully with the grey tones in the enamel creating a delicious, citrusy, spring look.
To get that all-important punch of colour we chose Icelandic poppies, ranunculus, anemones and sweetpeas as our blooms. Each one captures that really delicate, romantic quality that comes with spring flowers.
Because they were the main feature of the arrangement, we opted to keep everything else very light and airy with a selection of grasses and blossom branches.
Q. What is your favourite flower and why?
The best part of being a florist is that you're always working with what's in season, meaning you often see each flower for only a few weeks or months each year. This makes it hard to pick just one as you're continually being reintroduced to old favourites as time rolls on. At the moment sweetpeas are my number one because of their scent which is stronger and more delicious than any candle I've owned.
Q. How can people recreate displays like this at home, using their Falcon Enamelware for floristry?
The wonderful thing about these arrangements is that they are simple to make, with only a few stems needed. You can start by picking out a few statement flowers to use alongside smaller blooms and some grasses for texture.
Next, you'll need a way to support your flowers in the enamel tumbler. Scrunched up chicken wire and flower frogs are both great eco-friendly methods to keep your stems in place and ensure they stay hydrated. Without any support, the stems can fall to the edge of wider vessels and get damaged easily.
After you've made a support structure you'll be free to experiment with different heights, colours and shapes in your arrangement and see what works. The style here is loose and naturalistic, so it shouldn't be perfect. It should be fun! The great thing about Falcon enamelware is the fantastic selection of colours and product they have available: their Tumblers and Jugs come in different sizes so they can make the arrangement more interesting by changing the height.
Q. Are there any tips you can give us about designing a floral display for dining?
Put simply, flowers should complement rather than dominate the dining experience. A floral centrepiece that stands too tall can quash conversation across the table, while certain flowers (including lilies) can trigger an allergic reaction for guests.
Because of this, it's wise to keep things simple on the dining table. A scattering of small vases is always an elegant choice. Plus, they are easy to fit around crockery and candles as the table fills up with food. Just be sure to pick flowers that have a subtle scent and aren't going to drop leaves, petals or pollen all over your hard work.
Q. Do you have any tips for buying seasonal blooms this Spring/Summer?
Delphinium, dahlias, gardenias and hydrangeas are all in season and stunning right now.
Q. What’s your favourite thing to buy from Panzer’s Deli?
Oh that’s a difficult question! I adore the hot lunches; pies and quiche, and of course Falafel Friday is a massive hit with the flower girls as we often crave a hot proper lunch. But I rarely leave without bagels and some fresh fruit too.
Q. What's the most important piece of advice you have been given?
Work hard, play hard. There’s a great atmosphere at Panzer’s between the team across the store which makes work not really feel like work.
Q. Can you give tips on the best places to eat and drink in London at the moment?
There are so many good new restaurants opening at the moment – including Soutine on our doorstep on St John’s Wood High Street. We’re particularly excited about that.