Caledonian MacBrayne has become the first ferry company to take Visit Scotland’s ‘Taste Our Best’ seal of approval to the high seas.
Seven of the company’s Mariners restaurants on board the larger ships have been awarded this accolade – particularly special as CalMac prepares to embrace Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink. Two others are in the process of being assessed and, once in service, the MV Loch Seaforth will also be appraised by the judges.
The ships which have achieved this impressive award are MVs Isle of Lewis, Hebrides, Caledonian Isles, Finlaggan, Hebridean Isles, Isle of Arran and Lord of the Isles. These vessels ply routes throughout the Western Isles, Argyll and Arran, serving variously Lewis, Harris, North Uist, South Uist, Skye, Barra, Coll, Tiree, Colonsay, Islay, Campbeltown and Arran.
CalMac prides itself on providing an enjoyable passenger experience – at the heart of which is a food, drink and retail environment rich in local provenance.
More than 50 per cent of the Mariners Menu is Scottish, offering the likes of Barra-landed Haddock, smoked salmon from Argyll Smokery in Dunoon, along with burgers sourced from meat from around Argyll and the famous CalMac’n’Cheese, made using cheddar from Lockerbie. Lighter bites include cakes from Cobbs Bakery, Loch Ness and freshly made sandwiches from local suppliers. And locally produced ales, lager and whiskies can also be found on board.
By using or stocking these ingredients and products, Caledonian MacBrayne has made a commitment to both these premier food businesses and to introducing Scotland’s fresh larder to customers. CalMac’s spending with suppliers across the network is worth some £5.188 million.
The accreditation sees the Mariners restaurants join such illustrious company as The Three Chimneys in Skye, Martin Wishart at both Edinburgh and Loch Lomond, and The Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow, which are also Taste Our Best accredited.