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Taste of success

Press Release   •   Dec 10, 2015 14:45 GMT

Five castles, a Georgian mansion house, one of the finest military forts in Europe and a prehistoric settlement, which dates back 5,000 years have all scooped a prestigious industry award this year.

Aberdour Castle is the latest heritage attraction to have its food and drink offering given the seal of approval with a VisitScotland Taste Our Best award; joining Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles, Fort George in Inverness and Orkney’s iconic Skara Brae, amongst others, to be recognised. The initiative seeks to celebrate establishments which include and champion quality, locally sourced seasonal Scottish produce, showcasing the best that Scotland’s food and drink has to offer.

This latest accolade marks a significant achievement in the year that celebrates Scotland’s rich and diverse larder, with all eight of Historic Scotland’s1 properties that offer a food and drink experience – which is operated and delivered by contract catering group Benugo – now holding this special recognition.

Commenting on the awards, Elizabeth Strain, Catering Contracts Manager at Historic Environment Scotland, who manage all Historic Scotland properties, said: “It’s wonderful that all eight of our sites which include a food and drink experience have been recognised in these industry awards. They are testament to our on-going commitment to provide the best quality in food and drink and we’ve worked closely with our partner Benugo, who operate all of our cafés, to source and use local produce and products from the surrounding regions for each site, wherever possible.

“This achievement is made doubly special in the ‘Year of Food and Drink’, which celebrates and promotes Scotland’s quality produce.”

Jason Fox, Operations Director in Scotland for Benugo, who run all eight food and drink outlets to have been recognised, added: “We’ve worked to create and develop an offer within our cafés at these iconic visitor attractions that showcase and incorporate the very best produce that these areas boast, into our menus. It’s a real honour to have all eight acknowledged as part of this unique awards scheme.”

Taste Our Best is a joint initiative between VisitScotland and the Scottish Government and is supported by Scotland Food and Drink. The scheme, which launched two years ago, is designed to recognise businesses including visitor attractions and cafés that not only offer a quality food and drink experience, but include and promote Scottish produce and its provenance on their menus.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “I would like to congratulate all eight Historic Scotland sites on being awarded their Taste Our Best accreditations.  Each boasts a wide range of wonderful local produce, an offer which continues to grow in demand among visitors to Scotland with research showing that three out of four believe eating local cuisine will enhance their visit. 

“Taste Our Best has been a fantastic success in recognising Scotland’s excellent natural larder and we recently celebrated our 1,000th venue joining the scheme.  Promoting Scotland’s food and drink is a recipe for success and I look forward to welcoming many more businesses and venues to the scheme in the future.”

Taste Our Best award winners:

  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Stirling Castle
  • Urquhart Castle
  • Caerlaverock Castle
  • Aberdour Castle
  • Skara Brae
  • Duff House
  • Fort George


About Historic Enviroment Scotland:

  • 1.As of the 1st October 2015, Historic Scotland and RCAHMS came together to form a new lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. The new body Historic Environment Scotland (HES) will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.

Historic Scotland is a sub brand of Scotland’s new public heritage body, Historic Environment Scotland

2.Historic Environment Scotland is a registered Scottish Charity. Scottish Charity No. SC045925.

3.You can keep up to date with news from Historic Environment Scotland and register for media release email alerts here. If you wish to unsubscribe, please contact us.

4.Year of Food and Drink 2015

2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success. 

Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism.

A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat

Contact: Grant Thomson, Communications Officer

Direct line:0131 668 8603

Mobile:07580 702 611

Notes to Editors

    • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
    • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
    • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
    • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
      1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
      2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
      3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
      4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
      5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
      6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
      7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
    • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
    • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
    • According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism      economy contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
    • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
    • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
    • For holiday information on Scotland go to
    • For information about business events in Scotland go to

    Year of Food and Drink 2015

    • 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success.
    • Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism.
    • A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat
    • For more information, visit