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Published on : Saturday, December 19, 2015
From the world’s narrowest hotel to Scotland’s tallest lighthouse, and from the café at the Scottish Parliament to the UK’s most northerly chip shop, a new food and drink initiative has taken the country by gastronomical storm during 2015.
VisitScotland is celebrating the 1000th awardee of the Taste Our Best accreditation scheme, a quality assurance initiative that recognises eateries that provide and promote quality Scottish produce.
The Royal Exchange Coffee House, part of The Real Mary King’s Close visitor attraction in Edinburgh, was presented with the 1000th award by Richard Lochhead, Scottish Food Secretary.
Launched in September 2013, Taste Our Best is a joint initiative between the national tourism organisation and the Scottish Government. Assessors rate the overall eating experience, the extent to which Scottish produce (at least 40%) is used and promoted, and staff knowledge of the produce on the menu and its provenance.
Highlights of the 1000 Taste Our Best accredited business are:
Food and drink is a key part of the visitor economy and generates more than £2.5 million per day through tourism, with research finding that two thirds of Scotland’s visitors think quality food is an important factor when deciding to go on holiday.
In the past year, the number of visitor attractions achieving the accreditation has risen by 88% from 85 in January to 160 in December. The number of small serviced accommodation providers, like B&B’s and Guest Houses, awarded Taste Our Best has also seen a substantial rise, from 302 to 561.
Scotland’s Food Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
“This has been a phenomenal year for Scotland’s food and drink industry, and doubling the number of Taste Our Best establishments is a real achievement. We started off with 500 in January, and here we are, less than a year later, with 1000. I can’t think of a better way to round up the Year of Food and Drink, and I’d like to offer huge congratulations to Craig and the team at The Royal Exchange Coffee House, within The Real Mary King’s Close, for sourcing Scottish produce and their continued support of the sector.
“This year has thrown the spotlight onto our fantastic natural larder and has offered us countless opportunities to celebrate and promote it to the world. The turnover value of the sector now stands at £14.3 billion, with our manufacturing growth rate double that of the UK average. The statistics speak for themselves – more and more people are selling our food in greater numbers than ever before, and I want to see that continue into 2016 and beyond.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:
“Scotland can be proud of its natural larder and the Taste Our Best scheme recognises that. Not only does it indicate to visitors that the establishment believes in quality but it also shows they are committed to promoting local produce and giving customers a true taste of Scotland.
“From restaurants to Scotland’s built heritage, chippies to ferries, Taste Our Best is open to any business with a food and drink offering. With research finding that three out of four visitors think eating local cuisine will enhance their visit, Taste Our Best really is a recipe for success.”
Craig Miller, general manager at The Real Mary King’s Close said:
“We are delighted to be the 1000th business to receive the Taste Our Best accreditation from VisitScotland. At The Real Mary King’s Close we pride ourselves in offering our guests an authentic experience of Scottish history and we wanted to extend this authenticity to our recently opened café, The Royal Exchange Coffee House.
“The menu features locally sourced produce and Scottish favourites. We carefully considered which suppliers to use to ensure that our guests experience a real taste of Scotland and we are very proud to be able to work with local businesses. Scotland’s food and drink is renowned worldwide and we are thrilled to be playing our part encouraging guests to eat local and experience the best Scotland has to offer.”
Source:- Visit Scotland