The finalists of the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards 2022 have been announced as the Awards return after a two-year break…
The Awards, now in their 17th year, are delivered by a steering group, including John Scott (Fearn Farm), Marian Armitage (Shetland Food and Drink), Sam Faircliff (Cairngorm Brewery) and Douglas Hardie (Bad Girl Bakery). The steering group is supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise who are the principal event sponsor.
Windswept Brewing from Lossiemouth’s Barrel Aged Beers and Cù Bòcan Single Malt from the Tomatin Distillery south of Inverness.
Food of the Year finalists include seaweed chips from SHORE in Wick; salted caramel milk chocolates from Islay Cocoa; spicy coppa cured ham from Bogrow Farm in Tain; and flaky smoked salmon from South Uist-based Salar Smokehouse.
Two new categories have been added this year, recognising the breadth of the industry across the region: Best Food & Drink Tourism Experience (sponsored by The Caledonian Sleeper) and Best Supply Chain Business (sponsored by MacRoberts).
Three businesses are named as finalists in the Best Food & Drink Tourism Experience category: The Kintyre Gin Experience from Beinn an Tuirc Distillers at the Torrisdale Castle Estate in Argyll, Downright Gabbler, which offers innovative experiential dining experiences in Beauly; and the Kirkjuvagar gin tours at The Orkney Distillery & Visitor Centre in Kirkwall.
The Best Supply Chain Business category recognises an area of the sector that is often considered the backbone of the industry, connecting producers with retailers and those in food service. The two finalists are: vegan cheese producers, Left Coast Culture, and Inverness-based Williamson Foodservice wholesalers.
Showcasing the best local produce, skilfully presented by an expert kitchen and front of house team, the Restaurant of the Year finalists include Station Road restaurant at The Lovat Loch Ness; The Dipping Lugger in Ullapool; seafood specialists Harbour Kitchen in Stornoway; and Etive Restaurant in Oban.
Chair of the Judging Panel Elaine Jamieson, Head of Food and Drink and Life Sciences at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, says, “We were hugely impressed by the calibre of the entries from across the region and selecting the finalists was a difficult task for our judging panel. These finalists demonstrate the quality, innovation and ambition within the food and drink industry in the Highlands and Islands. We can’t wait to recognise this success at the awards ceremony in October, which is a great opportunity for the industry to reconnect and celebrate the diversity of the food and drink sector and its supply chain in our region.”
Winners will be revealed at the prestigious reception, dinner and awards ceremony at Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness on Friday, October 28. Tickets are now available to buy, with a choice of individual places or tables of ten.