MORE than 350 guests from across the French food and drink industry came together in Paris on Thursday night for a special Scottish Islands themed St Andrew’s Day event.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands Mairi Gougeon and British Ambassador to France Menna Rawlings welcomed attendees from across the French food and drink industry, including buyers, importers, distributors, trade press, and chefs, with the aim to build relationships and introduce new products from across Scotland.

Recent figures show that France remained the largest market for Scottish food exports, valued at £714 million and up 7.3% from the previous year.

Gougeon said: “I am delighted to be in Paris to mark St Andrews Day and to help showcase some of our finest produce to esteemed guests from across the French food and drink industry. 

“Scotland produces some of the finest and most recognisable food and drink products in the world and it is crucial for the industry’s success that we continue to showcase these products to the world. The food and drink sector is not only one of the largest contributors to our national economy but is also vital for the continued prosperity of many of our rural and island communities. 

The National:

“This event has helped promote the vibrant, high quality nature of our food and drink sector to potential customers at home and abroad. By furthering this message we can ensure that the sector continues to thrive both now and in the future.”

The evening reception included a food and drink showcase where more than 20 food and drink businesses represented themselves, including Scotbeef, Charles Macleod, Island Bakery, ​​Island Larder, Isle of Skye Sea Salt, The Chocolate Box Shetland, Isle of Harris Distillers, and ​​Badachro Distillery.

The event, sponsored by Walker Slater, was supported by industry leadership organisation Scotland Food & Drink, which earlier this year was responsible for publishing the 10-year national industry strategy: Sustaining Scotland. Supplying the World.

READ MOREBlack Friday 2023 offer ends AT MIDNIGHT

Aberdeenshire chef and Scotland’s regional food tourism ambassador, Craig Wilson, joined French chef Emilien Rouable for a live seafood demonstration where together they created a langoustine cappuccino with Jerusalem artichoke and a king scallop dish with black pudding, apple and ale chutney.

Wilson said: “It was an honour to be part of such a special event to mark St Andrew’s Day and see two culinary capitals of the world, Scotland and France, come together, in what was a celebration like no other.

"The food and drink scene in Scotland is exceptional and it was a pleasure to see the industry showcased in style, sharing our passion and enthusiasm with like-minded talent from the French food, drink and hospitality industries.”

Fiona Richmond, head of regional food at Scotland Food & Drink, said: “Scotland continues to grow its world-class reputation as a reliable producer of high quality food and drink, and France is an extremely important export market. Events like this are vital to collaborate with like-minded colleagues from different parts of the industry, and different parts of the world. It was wonderful to see so many of our members come together to showcase their products to the French market. ” 

An additional 18 businesses from different sectors including Harris Tweed, Essence of Harris, Orbital Marine and Nova Innovation also showcased collaboration opportunities from different industries across Scotland.