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There have been major wins for Island companies in the revived 2022 Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards.

Top locally-based winners were Bùth Bharraigh community shop in Castlebay; Harbour Kitchen restaurant in Cromwell Street, Stornoway; and Salar Salmon of South Uist and Benbecula. 

After a two-year hiatus because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the annual Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards 2022 took place on Friday night (October 28) with 250 guests gathering at Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness.

The Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards, now in their 17th year, recognise the very best products, food and drink experiences, outstanding retailers and businesses demonstrating sustainability, quality and diversity.

Lach and Leila from Harbour Kitchen, Stornoway.

The full lists of award winners are:

BEST DRINK sponsored by Speylife

BEST BREWED: Windswept Brewing Company - Windswept Brewing Barrel Aged Range

BEST DISTILLED: Highland Liquor Company - Seven Crofts and Seven Crofts Fisherman's Strength

Isle of Barra Distillers Ltd- Island Dark Rum (highly commended)

Judges Notes: The judges noted a variety of flavours of this product ranging from seaweed and mineral notes that delivered a balanced and unique taste.

BEST WHISKY: Tomatin Distillery - Cù Bòcan Single Malt

BEST FOOD: FOODSERVICE: Salar Smokehouse Ltd, South Uist - Salar Smoked Salmon

Jury Notes: Each and every product from the Foodservice Winner is handled and crafted with care and uniquely crafted in a handcrafted oven to create the signature taste and flavor that this company’s consumer base has come to know and love.

BEST FOOD: RETAIL: Shore The Scottish Seaweed Co - Shore Seaweed Chips

Bogrow Farm Charcuterie- Ross-shire Air Dried Ham (highly commended)

Chocolates of Glenshiel- Vegan Selection (highly commended)

BEST FOOD & DRINK TOURISM EXPERIENCE sponsored by Caledonian Sleeper: Downright Gabbler

INDEPENDENT RETAILER OF THE YEAR sponsored by Williamson Foodservice: Bùth Bharraigh, Castlebay

Judges’ Notes: The judges were impressed by this company’s commitment to sustainability and collaboration and showed real pride in their business.

PRIMARY PRODUCER sponsored by Salmon Scotland: Bakkafrost Scotland

Jury Comments: The jury found that the winner of this award is a pioneer in the way their products are grown, cared for and brought to market, with a genuine commitment to quality and sustainability within the industry.

SUPPLY CHAIN BUSINESS sponsored by MacRoberts: Williamson Foodservice

SUSTAINABILITY sponsored by Scotland Food & Drink: Bakkafrost Scotland and Beinn an Tuirc Distillers

Jury Comments: Bakkafrost Scotland fosters a positive culture of continuous improvement and best practices – an integral part of its sustainable development

BEST EATERY sponsored by Highland News Media: IV10

RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR sponsored by MacGregor Supplies: Harbour Kitchen, Stornoway

Jury Comments: The food is absolutely fantastic and excellent value for money. Brilliant and the judges say they would happily recommend you all to visit.

YOUNG AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR sponsored by Brook Street: Ella Moxon, Midge Bite Cafe

Amy McBean, Highland Bakery (highly commended)

JUDGES’ AWARD 2022: Left Coast Culture

AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR 2022: Gilpin Bradley, Wester Ross Salmon

Nicky Marr getting ready to call the winners on the awards night

Chairwoman of the judging panel, Elaine Jamieson, head of food and drink and life sciences at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “Congratulations to all winners and finalists who represent the very best in world class products and services from the Highlands and Islands.

“After a two-year absence the Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards is back with a record-breaking number of entries, each of an exceptional calibre.

“Selecting the winners was a difficult task for the judging panel.  The quality of products, the degree of innovation and the drive on sustainability shone through the entries and was really exciting to see.

“It was particularly positive to see a large number of entries for the eatery categories given the difficult trading conditions during the pandemic and the awards truly celebrated the return of the region’s hospitality industry.

“Of course, the backbone of all of this is the people to work in sector, and the awards is an important occasion to celebrate them.”