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Perfectly Partnered Food and Drink

From partnering wild-sourced foods with local beers to creating an after-dinner event that tickles the grey matter as well as the tastebuds, gourmet options are increasingly popular team rewards. Which of these delicious discoveries does it for you?

Cheese tasting

The ideal end to a company dinner, cheese tasting is a great way to add a little fun after dessert. People love learning a new skill, and pairing classic cheeses with interesting wines is an excellent talking point for an event where departments are mingling, or clients are meeting their contract managers. Add a cheese-based quiz for an extra helping of competition.

Foodie pitch challenges

Not every food themed event is a straight-up reward. Capitalise on the runaway success of TV shows like The Apprentice and pop a tasty pitch challenge into your away day.

Foodie pitch challenges get your teams flexing their business skills as well as their culinary muscles. I like the Chocolate Chip Challenge, which asks contestants to earn money through puzzles, quizzes and physical tasks. You spend the money you earned on creating, testing and marketing a high-end chocolate product. Tasty.

Creative cooking activities

Cooking is the ideal corporate challenge. If you're going to successfully create a dish that wows a professional chef, you need to use a combination of transferable skills.

Consider the humble canape. To make one, a team must listen to instruction, watch a chef in action, and recreate their recipes step by step. Taking everything they've just learned about flavour and texture combinations, they must then pass the ultimate test of initiative by developing a winning canape recipe of their own.

Dinners for winners

What if your food had to fuel an elite athlete? That's the question asked by my favourite nosh-based event, the Olympic Nutrition Challenge.

Different athletic disciplines require different nutrition plans. A weightlifter, for example, needs to maintain powerful muscle mass and explosive energy. A long distance runner requires plenty of slow-release carbohydrates for stamina, and protein for muscle repair.

With these requirements in mind, teams are tasked with preparing a complete menu for a randomly selected discipline. They can only use ingredients that represent the right nutritional balance for their athlete, and must come up with a tasty shake, a main course and a snack. Target driven and requiring careful planning, this one's a winner in my book.

Have you been to a great food event recently? Share it with the community on Facebook and Twitter.

Written by Jim Alexander

12th Wednesday August 2015