Connage Highland Dairy, alongside Corney & Barrow, last night (Tuesday 19 April) hosted a cheese and wine Tasting Evening at Castle Stuart Golf Club, Inverness as part of their role as Highlands & Islands Food Ambassadors of the Year.

Owners of Connage Highland Dairy, Jill & Callum Clark were honoured to have been voted 2015 Highlands & Islands Food Ambassadors of the Year and as a thank you to those from across the region, and more nationally, who support the food and drink sector, they teamed up with wine merchants Corney & Barrow, who are the UK agents for some of the finest wine estates in the world as well as handling Ernie Els wines in Scotland, to host an event where guests could taste their delicious cheese ranges.

Presented alongside some delectable canapes from The Storehouse, the cheese and wine allowed guests, who were made up of journalists, bloggers, chefs, business owners and more, the chance to learn more about how cheese is produced and about how the food and drink sector in the Highlands and Islands is thriving.

Connage and Corney & Barrow selected the following matches for the cheese and wine tasting:

Connage Crowdie; Sauvignon Blanc, Ernie Els, Western Cape, South Africa, 2015

A crisp, herbal style – the lightest of the wines to match the lightest of cheeses.

Bonnet; Pinot Noir, Eradus, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2014

The pinot is medium weight with great fruit and acidity that works with that texture of the Bonnet

St. Andrews Cheddar; Cotes-du-Rhone Villages Les Becs Fins Tardieu-Laurent, Southern Rhone, 2014

Cheddar and Syrah/Grenache always works well.

Four Ewes; Gewurztraminer Sporen Grand Cru Domaine Trapet 2011

A special wine for a special cheese!

Dunsyre Blue; Noans La Tunella, Collie Orientali del Friuli, 2014

A blend of Sauvignon, Friulano & Gewurztraminer, sweet, succulent with great complexity. The perfect match!

Jill Clark said:

“It’s such an honour for us at Connage Highland Dairy to have been appointed Ambassador of the Year for food and drink in the Highlands and Islands, and we’re really passionate about what the role represents. We’re big believers in supporting local industry and businesses, both personally and professionally.

“When we first started Connage Highland Dairy in 2005, there’s no way it would’ve become what it is today without the support of local people and businesses, and we’re really keen to invest that kind of support back into the area.

“It can be hard running a business in a rural community, especially somewhere remote where the kindest way to describe the weather is… unreliable! We really believe that investing time and support into the businesses in the Highlands and Islands for the future will ensure that there are increasing numbers of opportunities here that will compete. We’re very conscious not only about what’s going on now, but how we as an area can identify what needs to happen to sustain and increase success in the future.

“The Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards are a testament to the wonderful producers in the region, and we’re excited to see all the brands that continued to be recognised. Working together as businesses to promote each other both on and offline can only be a good thing for the area and the food and drink industry as a whole, and we hope businesses, both new and already established, continue to get the support they need to flourish.”

Connage cheeses have previously been lucky enough to grace the tables of the Ryder Cup and the Scottish Open and they also headed over to the US Masters earlier this month. The stunning Castle Stuart Golf Club therefore presented the perfect location for such a tasting event.

We were really sorry to miss this event but it sounds like it was a great success!