Where can you find the perfect malt whisky, mouthwatering handmade chocolates and stunning scenery? The Isle of Arran of course! The Geraldo’s team had a fabulous and truly informative day out this week to one of Scotland’s most magical islands and what a day it was!
The Isle of Arran Distillery
After a breezy trip on the ferry, Senior Brand Manager, Louisa Young, accompanied the team to the newly refurbished distillery in Lochranza. Nestled below the mountains, the distillery is in the ideal location to produce the perfect malt; where the pure water flows into nearby Loch na Davie. Combine this with Arran’s warm micro-climate, high quality barley and yeast, expertly picked oak casks and patience – up to 18 years of patience – while the wondrous character of the whisky matures. But as Master Craftsman, James MacTaggart says, “There is no point having good ingredients if you don’t have good people to make it.” The passion and knowledge that James, Louisa and all of the staff at the distillery have about their whisky is inspiring and it tastes fabulous too. Tours are starting again on Monday, 27th Feb 2017 and definitely worth taking the trip over there to see it.
The Arran Chocolate Factory
We all had a warm glow (could’ve been the whisky) as we travelled back to Brodick; spotting golden eagles, deer and seals en route. The magic continued as we were welcomed by owner James McLehry, and his senior chocolatier Jan, at The Arran Chocolate Factory. The sweet aroma hits you as soon as you enter the shop. Jan, who has been making chocolate there for 15 years, gave us a fabulous demonstration on making Easter eggs and some of their delicious hand-crafted treats. We also got a sneaky peek at some of her wonderful Easter creations. Watch this space as these little ducklings are sure to nip over the water to Geraldo’s of Largs soon!
We are delighted to announce that Visit Scotland has awarded us an amazing 4 stars in their Quality Assurance Scheme within the tourist shop sector.
Visit Scotland’s Quality Assurance scheme is a benchmark for quality across the tourism industry and operates across accommodation, visitor attractions and food sectors.
Once a business signs up to be part of the scheme, an assessor visits the shop unannounced and under the tourist shop category grades three main aspects of the business: pre-arrival; arrival; and attraction/presentation. Under these headings they assessed our online presence, the exterior appearance and signage of the shop, the interior orientation, decor and layout, the range and presentation of products and the general appearance, attitude and efficiency of the staff.
The feedback we got from the Visit Scotland Assessor was fantastic and we are over the moon with our Four Star rating!
Given that this Quality Assurance Scheme is recognised on an international level, we are honoured to be part of it and look forward to working more closely with Visit Scotland over the coming years.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the Home of Golf Pavillion at Royal Troon. The 145th Open will be showcasing the very best food and drink produce from across Ayrshire & Arran. And Sugar & Spice will be there!
On Thursday 14th July, Toni will be doing a talk and tasting session about the delicious handmade chocolates from the Arran Chocolate Factory. Not only can you sample these mouthwatering treats, but Toni will tell you all you need to know about this small island business and how Sugar & Spice became one of the few independent retailers to stock these luxurious chocolates.
Aside from enjoying the world-class golf, this prestigious event is also an excellent opportunity to sample all that our stunning region has to offer. Ayrshire & Arran have some of the finest food and drink produce in Scotland including: Hendricks Gin, Arran Whisky, Dunlop Cheese, Ayrshire Bacon, locally caught fish & seafood and wonderful ice cream. Fantastic tastes and flavours, combined with our beautiful coastline and rural landscape make this region a destination to be proud of.
Enjoy the golf, the scenery and the food! And don’t forget to join Toni on Thursday 14th July from 10am until 11:30am at Visit Scotland’s Home of Golf stand.