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Great facilities, excellent service and now... chocolate!

chocolate making courses paul hargreavesSweet toothed conference delegates are now able to indulge their love of chocolate during their meetings thanks to an initiative recently launched by Lane End Conference Centre.

The Buckinghamshire-based conference venue has introduced a Chocolate Making option for organisers to use as a team building tool or simply a fun social activity.

The sessions are lead by professional chocolatier, Paul Hargreaves, who, after training in Harrods’ pastry kitchen, went to Switzerland and America to learn more about the art of sugarcraft before opening his own kitchen and starting his company Cocoa and Cream in 2005.

Paul firmly believes that although the two hour class would provide a lighter moment during a company’s event it still can have a beneficial effect on what happens back at the office.

“This is great interactive activity which not only educates participants about the chocolate making process but also promotes teamwork and really gets colleagues working together,” he says.

This team building activity can be hosted in two formats.

First is the Corporate Team Building Challenge which is an Apprentice-style competition where the guests work in groups to develop a brand, produce their chocolates, present their finished product and demonstrate a profit margin. The winning team goes away with a carefully crafted medal and a bottle of wine each to enjoy during the chocolate feast finale!
Secondly it can be an informal and fun activity, providing entertainment and the opportunity to learn something new. Paul starts by giving an informative talk about the history and process of chocolate making followed by a very delicious chocolate tasting to demonstrate the end result of different chocolate-making processes and ultimately price. Everyone will have a chance to roll their own chocolate truffles, dip it in liquid chocolate, decorate it and take it home in a beautiful box.
The new team building concept was launched in September and Lane End has already hosted three companies who used the activity in different ways.

The first was an intimate team event for a satellite office of a well known software company. It wanted bring the group together to get to know each other and to build rapport.

The second, a local company, staged an apprentice-style team building challenge to enhance team work.

Meanwhile, another local company wanted to do something different at the end of a day’s conference to, literally, end the day on a high, albeit a chocolate high!

Lane End Conference Centre sales and marketing manager, Heni Fourie, is understandably delighted by the quick success of the initiative.

“These days the accent in conference catering is firmly on healthy options and this is something we actively support and promote,” he says. “However, the immediate success of our chocolate making option shows that there is room for unashamed indulgence, especially if clients can factor key valuable team building messages into the fun.”

The sessions usually last two hours. They can be organised as part of a larger event or simply as pre, or after, dinner entertainment. Cost is only £30+ VAT per guest for a minimum of 12 (supplement of £5 per person for groups below 12).

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