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Bakers set for Inverness and Loch Ness heat of the Highland Shortbread Showdown

By Gregor White

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Finalists at last year's Highland Shortbread Showdown. Picture: Andy Kirby
Finalists at last year's Highland Shortbread Showdown. Picture: Andy Kirby

The Inverness and Loch Ness heat of the Highland Shortbread Showdown is set to take place tomorrow, with the public invited to taste and vote for their favourite shortbread.

Organised by Visit Inverness Loch Ness (VILN) and taking place at Inverness Botanic Gardens, businesses from the area will compete for a place in the grand final.

This year marks the second Highland Shortbread Showdown, with entries up from the inaugural event in 2023.

Both the Inverness shortlisting event and final will be raising funds for local charity Befrienders Highland.

Businesses showcasing bakes on the day will be Blaeberry House, Downright Gabbler, Inverness Botanic Gardens, Grow Project, Patisserie Alice, Coul House Hotel, Café 1668, Glenurquhart House B&B, Simpsons Garden Centre, Hou Hou Mei, The Haven Café, R Macdonald & Son, Glen Rowan Café, The Redshank, Eden Court Theatre, Courtyard by Marriott and Lochardil House.

The top three shortbreads, as voted by the public, will go through to the grand final on Sunday, March 17 at Eden Court Theatre to compete against those shortlisted at events held by Visit Moray Speyside, Visit Cairngorms, Visit Nairn, Visit Dornoch, Venture North, Outdoor Capital of the UK, Skye Connect, South of Scotland Destination Alliance, Visit Arran and Visit Mull and Iona.

“The time has come for the public to do their best Paul Hollywood or Prue Leith impression and help us find the most delicious shortbread in Inverness and Loch Ness,” Emma Harrison, destination development manager at VILN, said.

“Their votes will decide which businesses represent our region in the grand final in March and compete against the rest of the Highlands to be crowned champion.

“And this year is even more delicious as we have expanded the competition to include three new categories in addition to the overall winner – best traditional shortbread, best flavoured shortbread and the public's choice.”

The businesses that make it through to the final will have to impress a panel of expert judges including Coinneach MacLeod, more famously known as The Hebridean Baker; Jeni Iannetta of Bad Girl Bakery; Kirsten Gilmour of KJ’s Bothy Bakery; and Gary Reid, director of Scottish Bakers and managing director of Reids of Caithness. The final will be hosted by MasterChef finalist Sarah Rankin.

Emma added: “The Inverness and Loch Ness shortlisting event is set to be a fun day; there will be free tea and coffee available to enjoy alongside the shortbread and many of the competing businesses will also be selling their products. Those coming along to taste and vote for their favourite shortbread are in for a treat. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it!”

The event takes place at Inverness Botanic Gardens from 10am until 1pm.

Befrienders Highland will also be offering Easter card making on the day.

Further information can be found at www.visitinvernesslochness.com/shortbread-showdown.

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