By Roz Skinner
Putting a contemporary twist on traditional food is something the Isle of Skye Baking Company does extremely well.
Flavoursome names like Rose Petal Shortbread, Talisker Whisky chocolate-spread and raspberry scones are guaranteed to make your mouth water before you take a single bite.
Liza Hawthorne, who co-owns the company with her husband, Barry, explains: "We like to take traditional products and make them our own."
That aim often takes the Baking Company team on a culinary adventure to discover which flavours best complement each other. "Because everyone has different taste-buds, we get our staff to test our latest creations," Liza laughs.
This year, the team took the decision to close The Bread Shed, located in Broadford, enabling them to focus their efforts on perfecting the experience at the Portree-based Isle of Skye Baking Company.
The Baking Company's focus for 2017 will be on healthier eating options. "For anyone gluten-free, we are looking at alternative flour," says Liza. "Almond flour, tigernut flour and coconut flour are noted for their low carbohydrates.
“We won't be replacing our wheat-based products – we will be adding another range of products so that people have plenty of options."
Keeping the Company environmentally-friendly is important to the couple. "All of our cutlery and plates are plant-based," explains Liza. "We compost as much as possible and use the wooden items for kindling in the wood-burning stove – thus heating the restaurant area. Our cups are made of corn starch and they also compost very quickly. We love the informal feel it gives our eating area."
Liza and Barry are keen to make sure there is continuously something going on for youngsters. "I like the idea that there is always something for children to play with or read," says Liza. "Although everyone can look through the little window to see our products being made, Barry welcomes kids into the kitchen. We have had people come back years later and say that the tour has stayed with them."
During the summer, workshops will be available to encourage children to experiment in the world of crafts. Held upstairs, above the restaurant-area, the workshops will provide extra activities for families. "I love the idea that, if it's rainy, we can keep kids amused," says Liza. "There's plenty for families to do here."