Whether you’re sending gift baskets or boxes to employees for the first time this holiday, or it’s a long-standing tradition, the experience sometimes matters more than the gift itself. Corporate gift baskets open up a perfect opportunity to create a simple tasting event that can be more memorable and meaningful than the gift itself.

Especially in the growing world of remote work, even a virtual social experience can improve team culture. A food gift and tasting event will give your teams a little break, build stronger connections with their coworkers, and boost morale.

Want to host a food and wine-tasting event for a client group, business partners, or your team this holiday? Follow these simple steps to create an innovative tasting experience in-home or as an office event with wine and charcuterie. These tips will help your employees feel celebrated, connected, and energized this holiday season.

Step 1: Prep

When planning a virtual tasting event, send instructions with a video conference link to all employees ahead of time, along with what to expect and what they’ll need to prepare. For example, they’ll need a cheeseboard, knives, bowls, a few condiments, and snacks of their choice.

Each person will receive one gift basket or box before the event. The Give Back Gift Box comes with the added feel-good bonus of a charitable donation with every purchase to No Kid Hungry . Or, for the perfect holiday charcuterie experience, send the Season’s Eatings Charcuterie & Chocolate Gift Box .

Hickory Farms meats and cheeses have optimal flavor and texture when cold, so suggest refrigerating these ingredients a least a few hours prior to the event.

For an in-person tasting event, you could opt for several large baskets or boxes; many come with the cheeseboard and serving accessories like the Grand Signature Charcuterie Gift Box. Have as much food prepared ahead of time so employees can make the most of their time together.

Step 2: Share Tips & Tricks for Building a Board

The goal of a tasting event is to create an experience that’s as comfortable as it is informative. So, as a team, share tips and tricks for building the best board. Maybe you have some resident charcuterie enthusiasts who can take the lead. If not, here are some tips you can share with the group.

  • Slice sausage and salami on a bias for a beautiful presentation.
  • A variety of cheese shapes will add interest to your board. Play around with cubes, wedges, and slices.
  • Squeeze or spoon your condiments into small bowls to make them easier to top meat and cheese bites.
  • Add fresh fruit, like sliced apples or pears, for texture and to enhance the meat and cheese flavors.
  • The best boards let people explore all their senses. Paying attention to the taste, textures, and appearance of foods will help your team practice focus and staying present in the moment, which is great for team bonding.

    Step 3: Make It a Contest

    Add a little bit of fun interaction to the experience by adding some friendly competition. Each person can explain their charcuterie board, give it a fun name, and try to convince the group that their board should be the winner–the funnier, the better. Then, everyone can vote for the best board, and whoever wins can get a special surprise at the end! The Chocolate Indulgence Holiday Gift Tower with Wine makes an excellent prize.

    Step 4: Just Add Wine

    If you want to add wine to your holiday tasting party, follow the steps above but add a bottle of wine to the gifts. Send virtual participants the Happy Holidays Wine & Snack Collection . Try the Generosity Cellars Wine Gift Collection or Ilo California Wine Trio for in-person events.

    Wine and cheese make the most popular pairings because they’re simplest to put together. An easy rule is to match bold wine with bold cheese and mild wine with mild cheese. Our wine and cheese gift baskets take all the guesswork out.

    Some other easy facts to share at a food and wine tasting are:

  • Food and wine fall into different categories based on their flavors: sweet, salty, bitter, acidic, fatty, and spicy.
  • Pair any food with wine! The balance is knowing whether it needs a complementary or contrasting wine pairing.
  • Complementary pairings will create balance by having similar flavor profiles.
  • Contrasting pairings will create balance through different flavor profiles.
  • Red wines tend to have more bitter flavor components and go great with bold meats.
  • White wines are more acidic and are paired best with lighter meats.
  • Let the group experiment with the different cheeses and meats and share which combos are team favorites! If wine is not the group’s style, pair the charcuterie with beer using our pairings guide!

    Step 5: End With Dessert

    If you have time, end the team event with something sweet! You could even choose to do a cupcake and wine -tasting event instead. Our Wicked Good Cupcakes come in jars making them perfect for events because they’re easy to ship and mess-free to eat. A Holiday Classics Cupcake 4-Pack makes an excellent gift to send remote employees and their families. At the same time, a Best-Sellers Cupcake 12-Pack or larger custom corporate order will satisfy any size team for an on-site party.

    Visit hickoryfarms.com/business-gifts to learn more about all our business gifting services! Our gifting specialists are ready to help—get in touch by calling 800-715-1474 or contact us here.


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