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If a meal isn’t part of the hospitality experience, you still need to ensure guests don’t go away hungry, so think about a caterer. Here are

Lyndy Redding of Absolute Taste’s

suggestions for making sure yours is an event to savour

It goes without saying that the food should be as memorable as the rest of the occasion. Caterers should be able

to offer creatively themed options, the more challenging the better.

Find a locally sourced caterer. Aside

from meaning that both the company and the food will have a reduced carbon footprint, it will give guests a taste of local produce and fare, and mean there‘s less chance of transport problems on the day.

Supply enough food in relation to alcohol. One good reason to serve food is to absorb all the booze: guests will then have more fun talking to each other, and more chance of remembering it afterwards.

It‘s good to have confi dence in a tried and tested company, so try to build a

relationship with your caterer; they will have to plan, practise and be as ready as you are for the event.

Remember to offer a full range of

dietary requirements, veggie options and even food for non-human guests, such as seeing-eye dogs if attendees include the visually impaired.

Do a tasting – any caterer worth its salt will let you have ample opportunity to try what you are ordering, and it is worth checking the quality in advance.

For more information see

together by an events company to include charter fl ights, coaches and transfers, such as the chance to visit the fi ve-star Hotel de Paris in Monaco, where your guests will get to go for a spin in some of the world’s most fantastic cars (Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Bentley, Maserati) before stopping off for a fl utter at the casino. Or there is a VIP trip to the Moët et Chandon Champagne cellars at Epernay in France for a full tour of the Champagne- making process, including plenty of chances to sample the fi nished product. Afterwards, attendees are treated to a reception in the Caveau Napoléon, a unique setting near the galleries where the Champagne slowly matures. Following a tour of the cellars, which Napoleon once visited (inspiring the name Brut Imperial), sit down to an eight-course lunch with matched Champagnes.

WINE MATTERS What if you have your entire event in place, but

want something a little bit special to cement the occasion in people’s minds? Arrange a wine tasting with a service provider like Wine Matters. It’s a great ice-breaker for a group looking for something diverting after a conference or before a meal, and most hotels and other venues are amenable to having a bottle or two brought on site. The choice of wine can be up to your budget, or you could name a theme, in which case Wine Matters will provide a selection. Or if you have something specifi c in mind, you can source the wine yourself. Wine doesn’t have to be expensive to be good, Wine Matters’ Richard Congreve comments, and a price range of between £8-£18 covers a full range of quality and tastes, although you're welcome to spend more if you choose to. Wine Matters will provide an hour-and-a- half of amusement, somewhere between a delicious distraction and a tutorial, and take you through the analytical tasting of six wines using tasting sheets to assess swirl, light, smell and, of course, fl avour. The tasting will often be blind so that preconceptions are avoided, and a spittoon is provided should anyone not wish to imbibe. Apparently, hiding the wine labels has brought about some interesting comments as people get into the swing of a tasting, providing feedback such as “it smells like sardines”. Wine Matters can also match or even mismatch wine with food, and will create each tasting based on the needs of the client. The PA Life offi ce was lucky enough to try a selection of white wines from Corney and Barrow (, which also runs its own wine club.

Tasting is not an exercise in snobbery, although Congreve assures us that the purpose is not to get drunk either. The knowledge of wine, grapes, regions and soils at his disposal is disarming, and he dispenses it willingly and with a friendly air. The fee for his and his wife Kara’s service includes all consultation time, drafting, preparation and presentation, a good way to keep event costs down. Alternatively, the wine merchant Corney and Barrow provides a loyalty scheme for party organisers that includes a free bottle of bubbly when you fi rst sign up. There is also a reward to the organiser of £1 per person for booking at one of its bars or restaurants, whether or not you attend. All in all, Congreve says, “it’s a great choice of entertainment for under a grand for up to 20 people”. So there you have it, a full gamut of ways

to treat your clients beyond the clichés of Champagne and cigars, proving that corporate hospitality and its providers are giving cost-effective options that are fully in keeping with the times. ●

Experiences included are available from AOK Events (, Kaluma Travel (, Inconnection (, Fortnum and Mason (, Large Outdoors ( and Wine Matters (08456 127475, Additional information was provided by Tom Barrow, Marketing Manager at Inconnection. To fi nd out about party organiser privileges and get your hands on a Party Organiser Privilege card, email pop@ or go to


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