Tourism Campaign Raises a Glass to Eight of the South of Scotland’s Food and Drink Legends

The South of Scotland Destination Alliance is celebrating local excellence thanks to funding secured through Scotland Food & Drink’s Regional Food Fund

EIGHT trailblazing food and drink businesses, with an experience focus, are playing a starring role in a new promotional campaign delivered by the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA).

Thanks to support from the Regional Food Fund, the SSDA commissioned leading Scottish food and drink writer Cat Thomson and renowned photographer Phil Wilkinson to profile eight local ‘legends’ offering superb quality food and drink experiences in the South of Scotland. Their resulting portfolio of written profiles and high quality images is available for use by any publication, free of charge.

Food at the Allanton Inn.

The quality local food and drink sector is a critically important part of the South of Scotland’s visitor experience, as well as a major employer, with hundreds of exemplary businesses – from restaurants and bars to specialist food producers – cooking up a storm for locals and visitors alike, right across the region.

The £6,000 project [of which £5,000 came from the Regional Food Fund, with £1,000 contributed by the SSDA] showcases eight local food and drink ‘legends’ and trailblazers who each represent different highlights of the region’s food and drink tourism experience, including recent winners of the first ever South of Scotland Thistle Awards.

The Ethical Dairy, which won the Silver Thistle at last year’s National Thistle Awards.

The businesses, who are now set to star in a dedicated multimedia campaign on SSDA channels, including its Scotland Starts Here website and blog, are:

  • Kitchen Coos and Ewes in the Luce Valley, near Stranraer. Owners Neale and Janet McQuistin host visitors to their 900-acre farm, offering a variety of experiences including Highland Cow safaris. They won Best Outdoor or Adventure Experience at the 2023 South of Scotland Thistle Awards.
  • Allanton Inn, near Duns in Berwickshire, an award-winning 18th century coaching inn in the peaceful conservation village of Allanton. The Inn was named Best Eating Experience at the South of Scotland Thistle Awards 2023 in recognition of their work championing excellent local produce.
  • The Ethical Dairy near Gatehouse of Fleet, founded by Silver Thistle Award-winners Wilma and David Finlay. Their farm, Rainton Farm, was the UK’s first commercial dairy to follow the ‘cow with calf’ method. As well as farm tours, the Dairy offers cheese-making courses for people to learn how to make artisan soft and pressed cheeses.
  • Wilson’s Farm and Kitchen near Kelso, which exemplifies the story of the countryside from field to fork and runs a unique 25-mile BBQ event, with all meat and seafood sourced from within a 25-mile radius.
  • The Globe Inn in Dumfries and Annandale Distillery, Annan. The Globe Inn was a regular haunt of national bard Robert Burns. The original distillery was established in 1836 and was reborn in 2014, a 5-star visitor experience that includes hourly tours and a cafe.
  • Cocoa Black Chocolate and Pastry School in Peebles, where you can try your hand at making delicious chocolate truffles and patisserie, or sample the wide selection of handmade patisserie and indulgent hot chocolates in the café.
  • Barony Country Foods near Lockerbie, whose Barony Smokehouse uses age-old processes combined with unique methods and recipes to create beautifully smoked fish, game and poultry, which is sold at the connecting artisan farm shop.
  • Traquair House & Brewery near Innerleithen is Scotland’s oldest inhabited house – dating back to 1107, it has been visited by 27 Scottish Kings and Queens. It is home to one of Scotland’s oldest breweries and recognised as a pioneer of micro-brewing. Brewery tours and ale tastings are held regularly.

Cocoa Black Chocolate and Pastry School in Peebles.

David Hope Jones, Chief Executive of the SSDA, said: “We’re incredibly lucky in the South of Scotland to have such a fantastic range of superb food and drink businesses, offering unforgettable experiences for visitors and local communities to enjoy. Through this Regional Food Fund-backed project we’ve been able to shine a spotlight on a ‘Magnificent Eight’ of the sector’s trailblazers; offering everything from chocolate-making classes and Highland Coo safaris, to field-to-fork farm tours and the chance to sit on Robert Burns’ chair at his favourite howff. These examples of local excellence are sure to whet people’s appetite, inspiring them to visit and sample the experiences first-hand. We’re very grateful to the Scotland Food and Drink Partnership for making this initiative possible, helping us celebrate the cream of our region’s food and drink experiences.”

Food writer Cat Thomson, who has been nominated as Scotland’s Food and Drink Writer of the Year in the 45th Scottish Press Awards, said: “What a joy and privilege it was to speak to the people featured in this project. I hope by telling the stories of these amazing food and drink businesses, we can tempt more visitors to come to the South of Scotland.”

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