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A Western Isles food business with links around the world has found themselves with a gold star for good taste, in the Great Taste Awards 2021, announced yesterday (Tuesday September 21).

Flavour, based at Talla na Mara in West Harris, have been awarded a gold star for their artisan chocolate, the 47% Belgian ruby chocolate diamond filled with passionfruit and a hint of chilli.

Described as the Oscars for the food and drink industry, the Great Taste Awards are organised by the Guild of Fine Food and are the world’s largest, longest-standing and most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers.

Flavour sources Belgian ruby chocolate alongside single origin Fino di Aroma Colombian chocolate, and hand-tempers the artisan treats in their own kitchen at Talla na Mara.

The business is run by Chris Loye (pictured), who earlier this month was appointed regional food ambassador for the Outer Hebrides by Scotland Food & Drink.

Chris has worked in the hospitality industry for over 15 years, in Scotland and Australia.  Five years ago, he relocated to the Outer Hebrides from Ayrshire with his wife with whom he runs two businesses.

They run a unique restaurant from a unit at Urgha, where guests dine in their kitchen and watch as they cook and serve just eight people each evening, and they also sell hand-tempered chocolates along with their increasing range of homemade products. 

A total of five awards are heading for the Western Isles, with North Uist distillery also seeing stars on their Downpour Gin and Downpour Sloe and Bramble Cask-aged Gin, and two Stornoway butchers winning awards for black puddings – Macleod & Macleod’s Stornoway Black Pudding has received an ‘exquisite’ three-star Great Taste Award, while Charles Macleod butchers (Charlie Barleys) has scored a two-star award, their ninth honour for the famous marags.