Fourteen businesses were named victorious in their categories including Bad Girl Bakery, Wester Ross Fisheries and Dunnet Bay Distillers.
The awards dinner and ceremony took place at the four-star Kingsmill Hotel in Inverness and was hosted by STV presenter, Jennifer Reoch.
The Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards highlight and celebrate the finest businesses that are helping put the region on the map. Winners were recognised for their innovation, quality and commitment to the food and drink industry.
Further celebration was in order for Finlay MacDonald of Chocolates of Glenshiel who received the new award for Young Ambassador of the Year which was revealed in line with Scotland’s 2018 Year of Young People. This award recognises the most passionate and hardworking young people in the Highlands and Islands.
The Ambassador of the Year title, which celebrates an influential individual who has made a significant impact in the industry, was awarded to Sam Faircliff, Managing Director of Cairngorm Brewery. This category was open to public nominations, with the final winner being chosen by the awards steering group.
Sam said: For those of you who already know me you know that I shout about how fantastic our produce is from the Highlands and Islands without being asked, so to be the Ambassador of the Year for the next year is a real honour and delight. Thank you to all those involved, and I look forward to the coming year.”
The Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards are delivered with support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Elaine Jamieson, Head of Food & Drink at HIE.
She said:“Entries to the awards were significantly higher in 2018 than in previous years, and categories were very competitive. It is very encouraging to see the diversity and quality of products coming from the Highlands and Islands. It is the overwhelming passion that the people from our region have for producing and providing great food and drink that is putting the Highlands and Islands at the top of the country’s food and drink industry.”
She continued: “The winners should be very proud to have outshined their competition and I hope these well-deserved and independently judged awards will be a distinguishing asset to their businesses.”
The Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards launched in 2005 and have since rewarded and supported some of the region’s most celebrated food and drink businesses. The Highlands and Islands make up a large portion of Scotland’s overall food and drink exports which reached the all-time high of £1billion earlier this year.