The shortlist for this year’s Orkney Food and Drink Awards has been revealed, following a public vote that attracted 4,000 nominations.

Thirty-six local food and drink business are in the running for 16 different awards, covering everything from the best breakfasts, lunches and evening meals, to the finest bakery, drink, meat, fish and dairy products. Prizes for the top marketing initiative and new product are up for grabs too, with a special continued excellence award also being presented.

The biennial awards – re-launched in 2014 – have been organised by Orkney Food and Drink, with sponsorship from NorthLink Ferries.

Voting for the awards opened in April and closed this month, with the shortlist drawn up by Orkney Food and Drink. Eighty local businesses were originally nominated.

Award winners will be announced at a special gala ceremony and dinner in Stromness Academy on Saturday, 15 October.

Orkney Food and Drink’s Edgar Balfour said: “When we re-launched the food and drink awards two years ago we were overwhelmed by the public response, but this year has again seen interest far exceed our expectations. The thousands of nominations we’ve received have come from local folk and visitors alike and we’d like to say a massive thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to cast a vote. Orkney’s food and drink businesses are extremely proud of what they do and these awards are the perfect way to formally recognise that commitment and dedication.”

Mr Balfour added: “The awards ceremony in October will be a very special night indeed. Not only is it an opportunity for shortlisted producers to reflect on their hard work and success, it’s also a great event for anyone who just loves Orkney’s fantastic food and drink. There’ll be lots to savour on the night, with a real feel good factor guaranteed.”

Peter Hutchinson from event sponsors, NorthLink Ferries, said: “NorthLink Ferries is delighted to help recognise the very best of Orkney’s producers through our sponsorship of this year’s Orkney Food and Drink Awards. Our guests enjoy sampling Orcadian cuisine and produce on board our vessels, and we are committed to supporting the islands’ food and drink industry to make sure that Orkney is considered one of Scotland’s top foodie destinations.”

Further details on the awards ceremony and information on tickets will be available soon on the Orkney Food and Drink website at www.orkneyfoodanddrink.com.

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