Denmark's foodie island could be a culinary inspiration for the Outer Hebrides

The Western Isles will take first steps towards becoming an international food and drink destination with a mission to a Danish island next month.

By Brian Wilson
Thursday, 24th February 2022, 10:45 am
Updated Thursday, 24th February 2022, 2:11 pm
Lach MacLean, proprietor of the Harbour Kitchen, is among those who will make the trip
Lach MacLean, proprietor of the Harbour Kitchen, is among those who will make the trip

With support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, a party of 12 individuals involved in various aspects of the industry will visit the Danish island of Bornholm which is described as “a foodie paradise andone of the most interesting outposts in the new Nordic culinary landscape”.

Julie Sloan, food and drink specialist with Outer Hebrides Tourism, said: “We were offered an exchange to look at projects and best practice in another area, so after my research the choice is Bornholm.

“The aim is to establish or expand tourism food and drink experiences, increase innovation, improve productivity or to adapt more sustainable practices and diversify food production”. The visit will take place from 22- 29 March.

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The group will include food producers, retailers, chefs, restaurant owners, front of house staff and tourism businesses from throughout the islands. Businesses represented will include Harbour Kitchen, North Uist Distillery, Eriskay Community Shop, Hebridean Guest House, Flavour, Uig Sands Restaurant and Broad Bay House.

Julie explained the choice of Bornholm. “It is a food-island with a short tourist season which has both established food and drink businesses and also many new start-ups, such as an organic ice-cream maker who uses seaweed, street food, a brewery and many others.

“Most of the ingredients used in local restaurants come from the island and surrounding waters. The island is known for New Nordic Style of food and drink - championing traditional dishes, local produce, seasonality and ethical production.“Bornholm Tourism are also doing a lot of work around extending the season through events and special features, which is very much in line with Outer Hebrides Tourism. They have a huge emphasis on herring and there is a festival - Sol over Gudhjem , named after the traditional Bornholm herring dish”

The programme will include meeting the local food and drink association, producers who have an emphasis on the use of local produce and developing food tourism experiences, as well as discussions on “the future of food”.

Bornholm is located in the Baltic Sea surrounded by Denmark, Sweden and Germany. It has a year-round population of around 50,000 so is not hugely dissimilar to the Western Isles in scale. It is a 35 minute flight from Copenhagen.

In 2017 it became the first place in Europe to be designated as a World Craft Region. As well as its food reputation, it has become a mecca for tourists interested in textiles, pottery, art and glassware.

The Bornholm official web-site gives a taste of what the Hebridean visitors will find: “It’s been more than 15 years now, since the first Bornholm food producers brought the small island to the world’s knowledge.

Beer, pasta, licorice and other tasty foods were amongst them.

“The Bornholm food industry has grown so big, that it is placed on position four in the most important sources of income for the island . The products are well-known for their high quality and can be bought in supermarkets all over Denmark – and even abroad.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​