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We love asking our UVE member experts for their top event planning tips, this month’s  insider hints come from The Scotch Whisky Experience’s Head of Events, Wendy Neave. She kindly chatted through the changing Christmas trends she has noticed through the years when planning an office Christmas event.

Food

People’s tastes and palates have definitely changed over the years and in addition the number of dietary and allergen requirements is ever on the increase.  People are far more in tune with what food and nutrition mean to them personally, however we do see people relax a bit more during the festivities!  So in addition to looking at sourcing the best quality seasonal produce our menus are created to appeal to and accommodate all the different requests these days. Another aspect which has changed is the aesthetic.  Beautiful presentation is something we have always strived for, but we now see many of our dishes appearing on our social media channels – it’s great to see and keeps us on our toes!

Drink

It used to be that wine was the main drink of choice, but now we are receiving more requests for an arrival drink.  This can range from a whisky cocktail or glass of fizz to a whisky tasting or blend your own experience.

The range of different drinks available now has vastly increased compared to just five or ten years ago. We recognise that our customers now like to try something a bit different as well as the classic red or white wine to accompany their meal, so this year, our Festive Taste of Scotland menu starts with an arrival whisky cocktail with fiery ginger beer, orange and cloves. All of our menus are served with wine, or each course matched with a dram from our bar which stocks over 450 different whiskies.

Decorations

Historically, decorations used to consist of one Christmas tree in the corner! By just looking around the city, you can see that Christmas lights and decorations have grown year on year, with more colours, more lights and more designs. Our beautiful city of Edinburgh has sparkling lights, illuminated buildings wrapped in red ribbons, icicle lights hanging from window ledges. It’s as if each building and company is competing with each other to make theirs look the most festive! This also follows through to the interior of restaurants. Nowadays, we work with a wonderful local florist to dress our interior with beautiful decorations adorning our window sills, centre pieces and of course a tree, all creating a warm, inviting Christmassy atmosphere that we hope our guests will enjoy.

Pictured: The Scotch Whisky Experience’s Christmas Taste of Scotland menu, a beautiful festive take on the year round Taste of Scotland menu showcasing Scottish produce at its absolute best.