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Inverness and Loch Ness heat of the Highland Shortbread Showdown takes place this weekend

By Andrew Dixon

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Craig Wilson and Kirsten Gilmour will be among the judges at the grand final next month.
Craig Wilson and Kirsten Gilmour will be among the judges at the grand final next month.

The Inverness and Loch Ness heat of the Highland Shortbread Showdown, organised by Visit Inverness Loch Ness (VILN), takes place this weekend at the Victorian Market.

The Highland Shortbread Showdown, a competition for tourism businesses across the Highlands to enter their version of the region’s favourite biscuit for the chance to be crowned the ultimate winner, has attracted 10 entries from the Inverness and Loch Ness area.

The competition is part of a wider food and drink strategy to promote the Highlands as a foodie destination.

Signature shortbread from local tourism businesses Downright Gabbler, Coul House Hotel, Whitebridge Hotel, Highland Experiences, Blaeberry House, Café Ness By the Cathedral, Mountain Tours Scotland, Velocity Café, Highland Security and Cabot Highlands will be available for the public to try at the Food Hall in the Victorian Market tomorrow. The public will then be able to vote for their favourite.

Between 10am and 3pm at the Victorian Market, visitors will also be able to enjoy live music from Calum MacPhail and Sean Cousins, as well as a treasure hunt, and younger visitors will be invited to design their own shortbread. There will also be an opportunity to donate to the Highland Hospice who will be there selling sunflowers.

Emma Harrison, destination development manager at VILN, said: “We are delighted that so many local tourism businesses have put themselves forward in the Highland Shortbread Showdown. Everything is set for a fantastic event on Saturday and who better to judge our local shortbread entries than the public. I would encourage everyone to come down and show their support and vote for their favourite shortbread biscuit!”

The bakers behind the top three shortbread biscuits, as voted by the public at the Victorian Market on Saturday, will go through to the grand final which will be held at Inverness Cathedral on March 25.

The three bakers from Inverness and Loch Ness will face the best bakers from Moray Speyside, the Cairngorms, Nairn, Caithness, Sutherland, Lochaber, Skye and Lochalsh.

At the grand final, the ultimate winner of the Highland Shortbread Showdown will be decided by a judging panel made up of five well-known bakers from the Highlands – Kirsten Gilmour (KJ) from KJ’s Bothy Bakery (formerly Mountain Café), Jeni Iannetta from Bad Girl Bakery, Craig Wilson aka The Kilted Chef, Steven Traill from Rain Bakery, and Andrew Mackay, head pastry chef at Gleneagles.

A recipe book of all the shortbread recipes entered into the Highland Shortbread Showdown will be on sale at the final event at Inverness Cathedral to raise funds for the Highland Hospice.

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