Two Borders businesses have been announced as winners at the prestigious Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards - including Product of the Year.
Cuddybridge Apple Juice andMacamoon, a Peebles macaroon business, were flying the flag for the region.
They were among twenty prizewinners to have been whittled down from 245 entries.
Cuddybridge Apple Juice won the non-alcoholic drink award, which the firm had previously won in 2014, while Macamoon took home the confectionery and snacking prize.
There was an extra surprise for Macamoon’s owner, Ailsa Corbishley, at the end of the night.
Ailsa was surprised to be called to the stage to receive the award for Product of the Year.
Ailsa, originally from Northampton, moved to Peebles with her husband and two (now three) children.
“We originally came for three years,” she said after the awards, “but now I think that we’re here for life.
“We just love the place, we love it as a place for our children to grow up, the quality of life, and as somewhere to start a business. We’ll be here for ever.”
That business, Macamoon, was set up by Ailsa just over a year ago.
“I’d always enjoyed baking before then,” she said.
“But mainly had just been experimenting and testing things out on my family and friends! I set up the business and it’s just run and run and proved a huge success although I certainly didn’t expect to be winning awards like this.
“I’m hoping for another boost to the business because this was such a high profile event, and now the name is out there, people will be getting interested.
“I was really surprised,” said Ailsa. “This was the first time that I had gone to an event like this, and so I was on my own and quite shy.
“It’s all very exciting.”
Ailsa’s winning product was her ‘Scottish Selection’ with flavours inspired by Scotland, and using local produce.
The macaroon flavoured with Peeblesshire heather honey and whiskey liqueur was the judges favourite of all the products they tasted.
In the course of their assessment, the judges sampled 165 Scottish products ranging from salmon and charcuterie, to lemonade and whisky.
The awards were announced by presenter of Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, Simon Rimmer, and were designed to highlight business excellence, innovation and best practice across the Scottish food and drink industry.
Recognised by both trade and consumers as an accolade of the highest quality, the awards were presented at a sell-out event at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on June 2, with 800 guests attending.
Scotland Food and Drink chief executive James Withers said: “Congratulations to all winners and finalists who have been selected from a record number of entries by our panel of more than 35 judges. They recognise the people, products and practices which make Scotland a land of food and drink and represent the wealth of our industry from artisan producers to established brands.
“Welcoming 800 people to the sold out awards ceremony is testament to the success of the sector. This event is a great opportunity to take stock of success and to look ahead to the future as we shape the industry’s strategy to 2030.
“There has been a revolution in food and drink and the awards show why that is. We have an amazing mix of established world-class business and a new generation of entrepreneurs coming through. Crucially, there is now a culture of collaboration in Scotland - industry bodies and companies working together to build our reputation and our sales. Challenges are never far away, but opportunities for growth and innovation over the next few years are hugely exciting.”