The finalists for the Highlands and Islands Food & Drink Awards 2023 have been announced this week as judges reveal they have received a record number of entries from businesses across the region.

From Restaurant of the Year to Best Drink, this year's awards cover 15 categories in total with winners set to be named at a ceremony at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness on Friday, October 27.

The Herald: The Highlands and Islands Food & Drink Awards judging panelThe Highlands and Islands Food & Drink Awards judging panel (Image: Supplied)

The Food & Drink Awards seek to 'showcase and celebrate' excellence and achievement in the industry with judging panel members today commending the 'outstanding' standard of this year's entries.

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Chair of the judging panel, Elaine Jamieson from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “Food and drink in the Highlands and Islands is truly exceptional.

"From street food and start-ups to established producers, our region has a world-class reputation.

"With a record number of entries for 2023, our panel of expert judges had their work cut out.

"The calibre of entries was outstanding and our chosen finalists represent the very best within the food and drink industry in the Highlands and Islands. 

“We look forward to announcing the winners at the awards ceremony in October and reconnecting with our friends and colleagues in the industry.”

The Herald: The Highlands and Islands Food & Drink Awards judging panelThe Highlands and Islands Food & Drink Awards judging panel (Image: Supplied)

Tickets for this year's ceremony are on sale now with more information here.

See below for a full list of categories and finalists: 

Finalists for the Independent Retailer of the Year award (sponsored by Aquascot)

Lochcarron Food Centre, Lochcarron, Strathcarron

Simpsons Garden Centre, Inverness 

The Tobermory Bakery, Tobermory, Isle of Mull

Finalists for the Primary Producer award (sponsored by Salmon Scotland)

Bakkafrost Scotland, Native Hebridean

Miele's Gelateria, Inverness

Finalists for the Sustainability award (sponsored by Scotland Food & Drink)

Associated Seafoods, Buckie, Moray

Ness Walk, Inverness

North Point Distillery, Thurso

Shetland Islands Council Local Food Procurement, Lerwick, Shetland

Windswept Brewing Co, Lossiemouth

Finalists for the Supply Chain Business award 

Good Highland Food, Moy, Inverness

Williamson Foodservice, Inverness

Finalists for the Best Food & Drink Tourism Experience award (sponsored by Caledonian Sleeper)

Dunnet Bay Distillers Visitor Experience, Dunnet, Thurso

Islay Sea Adventures, Port Ellen, Isle of Islay

The Majestic Line (Scotland) Ltd, Dunoon, Argyll

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Finalists for the Best Start Up award (sponsored by Be Personnel)

The Galleon Bistro, Isle of Mull

The Islay Spirits Company, Isle of Islay

Finalists for the Best Eatery award (sponsored by Highland News & Media)

Miele's Gelateria, Inverness

No 88, Lerwick, Shetland

The Pier, Lairg
Finalists for the Restaurant of the Year award (sponsored by Williamson Foodservice) 

Duisdale House Hotel, Aird of Sleat, Isle of Skye

Harbour Kitchen, Stornoway

Sun Dancer, Nairn

Finalists for the Best Street Food award

Alvie Forest Food, Aviemore

Orkney Street Food- Beiting and Brew, Kirkwall

Tagliotello, Inverness

The Redshank Catering Company Ltd, Inverness

Finalists for the Young Ambassador of the Year award (sponsored by Brook Street)

Abigail Macleod, Caladh Inn, Stornoway

Basia Danielewska, Sushi Inverness, Inverness

Ben Gibson, Associated Seafoods, Buckie, Moray

Ciara Bow, Gledfield Distillery, Ardgay

Finlay MacDonald, Chocolates of Glenshiel, Kyle of Lochalsh

Paige Dennis, Island Larder, Lerwick Shetland

Finalists for the Best Drink (sponsored by SPEY)

Barra Atlantic Gin, Isle of Barra Distillers Ltd, Castlebay, Isle of Barra

Downpour Scottish Dry Gin, North Uist Distillery, Nunton Steadings, Outer Hebrides

Inverness Gin, Great Glen Distillery, Drumnadrochit, Inverness

Mapmaker's Coastal Spiced Rum, Dunnet Bay Distillers Ltd, Dunnet, Thurso

SPEY Trutina, Speyside Distillers, Kingussie

The Original Islay Rum, The Islay Spirits Company, Isle of Islay

Wild Eve, Isle of Harris

Windswept Brewing Co IPA Range, Windswept Brewing Co, Lossiemouth

Finalist for the Best Food: Retail award (sponsored by Seafood Scotland)

Island Bakery Isle of Mull Cheese Biscuits Range, Island Bakery, Isle of Mull, Argyll

Stockan's Orkney Heritage Spelt Wheat, Herb and Pepper Oatcakes, Stockan's Oatcakes, Stromness, Orkney

Stockan's Orkney Heritage Bere Barley, Chilli and Cheese Oatcakes, Stockan's Oatcakes, Stromness, Orkney