Tourism businesses in the Borders are being encouraged to include and promote Scottish produce on their menus in a new joint initiative.
The Taste Our Best Food and Drink Scheme has been launched to give consumers a Scottish experience when dining out in the region with a view to increasing the revenue for Scottish food and drink businesses by up to 20%.
Funded by the Scottish Government (£450K over three years) and VisitScotland (£470K in kind support) with support from Scotland Food and Drink, the Taste Our Best initiative brings together the tourism and food and drink industries. The Scotish Borders offers an excellent choice of accommodation throughout the region and many local businesses are ensuring visitors are offered the best Scottish experience in terms of what people eat whilst they stay here.
Whitehouse Country House at St Boswells is a perfect example of a local accommodation business working closely with local food producers. Since winning the Best Breakfast Award in 2010 Angela and Roger Tyrer along with their team, have continued to promote Borders produce.
Angela Tyrer of Whitehouse Country House, said: “Guests from all over the world want to taste food that has been produced in the area they are visiting.
“We actively work with our local producers to promote their food produce, for example our raspberries come from Border Berries farm that guests can see from our dining room window.
“Our beef is Aberdeen Angus beef from Hardiesmill near Gordon and all our fish and seafood is from our local fishmonger D.R. Colin in Kelso, who have their own boats going out from Eyemouth harbour.”
The Taste Our Best scheme is the latest addition to VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance (QA) Schemes, which aim to drive up quality in tourism products across the country. Taste Our Best will provide businesses with an assessment of their food provision and their menu by qualified assessors, with those meeting the necessary criteria gaining the award.
For serviced accommodation providers and visitor attractions, the assessment will take place at the same time as the main VisitScotland Quality Assurance grading, meaning that many tourism businesses that already participate in the QA Scheme will no longer have to apply and pay for a separate food and drink assessment.