Highland Fayre Luxury Hamper Raises £250 at Annual WAGS Charity Dinner

by Stewart 5. June 2013 00:02

It was great to hear last week that our donated Luxury Willow Basket Hamper raised £250 during the silent auction at the WAGS Charity Dinner in Aberdeen. In total the event raised an incredible £43,000 and will be given to Quarriers to invest in its fieldworkers service.

A Quarrier’s fieldworker supports families and individuals dealing with epilepsy. Whether it be helping an individual who may be having employment issues, aiding a family struggling to come to terms with a recent diagnoses, or a teenager dealing with medication issues, these funds will help fieldworkers to provide a better quality of care.

(Quarrier fieldworker offering a helping hand!)

The WAGS charity dinner was originally started 20 years ago by Aberdeen comedian William “Buff” Hardie and since then it has grown in popularity. Tickets and tables are so highly sought after that the event has even taken bookings for next years dinner.

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History of Luxury Hampers - The Highland Fayre Story Part 1

by Stewart 1. June 2013 01:39

Here’s a little bit of Highland Fayre trivia I bet you didn’t know about us… We haven’t always been in the luxury hamper game! In fact before we produced our first gift hampers some thirty years ago we were actually in the potato trade with two key customers, McCain’s and Walkers Crisps.

(The Original Highland Fayre Logo.)

In 1983, our founder Howard England made one of the most important decisions of his life to go out and pursue his own way in the potato merchant industry. Over the coming years he built himself a highly successful business, but by being so dependent on only two potato customers he was constantly mindful of the risks he faced.

It wasnt until 1985 that Howard spotted the opportunity he needed to diversify. While the wild salmon market was thriving, Howard began selling this delicacy and started building a luxurious, upmarket brand identity in the form of Highland Fayre. In fact while Howard can take credit for identifying and pursuing this new business venture, it was actually his wife Hazel who was the brainchild behind the name Highland Fayre during a family meeting one night.

(Highland Fayre began selling wild salmon before it entered into the Luxury Hamper market.)

After two successful years of being in the wild salmon market, Howard found the legs cut out from underneath of him. Due to the rise of large salmon fish farms in west of Scotland, there was suddenly a huge increase in the supply of smoked salmon and hence the “wild product” could not compete on price or volume.

Hope was not lost. With fire in his belly and his merchant instincts kicking in, Howard spotted a new opportunity to capitalise on… Luxury Gift Hampers.

BOOOOM! The 80’s were in full swing and with more and more people living extravagant lifestyles this gave fuel to the fire for Howard to start his own hamper business and produce upmarket luxury hampers. Having obtained an Off-Sales License for alcohol and sourcing suppliers for a new own label Highland Fayre range, he soon launched his luxury brand onto the market.

(One of Highland Fayres earlier Food Hampers.)

He would see his decision to pursue this venture pay off in the years to come. However, a deep recession was looming and in order to survive in a failing economy Highland Fayre would have to change its product offering and bring in some youthful innovation.

To be continued……

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Highland Fayre Getting A Head Start on the Chinese In Innovation

by Stewart 23. May 2013 22:44

It was a pleasure for Highland Fayre to be part of the first ever Business Insider and Ledingham Chalmers Made in Aberdeen Breakfast last Thursday. The event that was held at the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa saw a collection of business sectors coming together to debate about innovation in Aberdeen. As this was my first ever networking event my snooze button was shown a little more compassion than it usually would at 5.25am in the morning. And to make things even better Aberdeen was experiencing one of the seven days of summer Scotland ever sees in a year.

(From Left to Right: The panel - Alfie Cheyne, Stuart Mitchell, Peter Ferry & Vivien Mckee. Guest Speaker - Prof. James Woudhuysen, Host - Nadine Dereza, Editor Scottish Business Insider - Alasdair Northrop)

On entering the conference hall an immediate buzz was felt as individuals networked with fellow attendees (however at 7.15am this buzz could be argued to be from the litres of coffee consumed to get rid of that early morning haze). By 7.45am the stage was set, and while attendees digested their breakfast, host and regimental timekeeper for the morning Nadine Dereza got things underway. 

After introductory comments from the event’s organisers it was time to welcome Professor James Woudhuysen, a specialist in forecasting and innovation, to the stage. While sitting listening to James future predictions for the IT and Energy sectors and later hearing from the panel of industry experts, I was immediately filled with enthusiasm to go out and start pursuing innovation within my own business sector. It was also encouraging to hear company Directors Vivien Mckee (IA Cubed) and Alfie Cheyne (ACE Winches) fighting the corner for “Generation Y” and encouraging other business owners to fully utilize the skills of recent graduates. As a graduate myself I could immediately relate to this part of the discussion having been through my own struggles to get that opportunity to start my career.

(Highland Fayre"goody" bags for the lucky delegates of the Made In Aberdeen Breakfast.)

I think I’m safe in saying that the award for most inspirational speaker of the morning went to Alfie. The Aberdeen born and bred CEO inspired guests to get out of their beds an hour earlier if they wanted to compete against countries like China on innovation. It was also interesting to see the panel tackle some challenging questions from the audience and even more entertaining seeing James play devil’s advocate trying to provoke debate. Despite being renowned for his ability to predict future trends, James certainly showed real promise as a campaign manager for Alfie’s political career (if Alfie was to ever move into politics that is).

As the event started winding down and Andrew Docherty of Marks & Clerk provided the closing remarks, guests had the opportunity to stick around for the Microsoft workshop run by Microsoft’s future talent James Shield. With time for some last minute networking it was great to speak with some interesting business men and woman, not to mention the amount of positive feedback about our Highland Fayre gift bags.

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Truly Berry Scrumptious

by Stewart 3. May 2013 20:02

When you are a self-proclaimed chocoholic who loves any type of strawberry treat, getting the opportunity to work with a company like Berry Scrumptious is an absolute dream come true. Makers of a delicious array of chocolate covered strawberry gifts, Berry Scrumptious literally nurture and handpick the strawberries straight from their family farm in Aberdeenshire.

(Berry Scrumptious's delicious chocolate covered strawberries.)

The founding couple Claire and Ross Rennie have also diversified into producing luxury chocolates and most recently have produced their own version of Rocky Road called “Rocky Farm Road” (inspired by the stony tracks leading up to their farm). There are also plans in motion to bring out a range of toffee with three new flavours in production, Raspberry Chocolate, Fudgeberry (milk chocolate, raspberry and fudge pieces) and Strawberry & Black Pepper.

(Berry Scrumptious Rocky Farm Road.)

(Berry Scrumptious Strawberry & Black Pepper Toffee.)

(Berry Scrumptious Rasberry & Dark Chocolate Fudge.)

Berry Scrumptious efforts haven’t gone unnoticed either after they walked away with a 2013 Bronze Grampian Food Forum Innovation Award in the category of Retail Product, companies with less than 25 employees for their Berry Fudge. The company has also been entered into the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards, which it hopes to be shortlisted for the Confectionery and Snacking category.

(Claire picking up here Bronze Grampian Food Forum Innovation Award.)

Highland Fayre is delighted to be working closely with Berry Scrumptious as a key supplier and intend to use a wider range of their goods for the 2013 hamper season. Examples of gift hampers which include Berry Scrumptious products are our Taste of Grampian and Lochnagar Hampers.

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Get A Head Start This Father's Day

by Stewart 26. April 2013 23:51

Not got a spare eight hours to show your Dad how to redeem an iTunes voucher? Sick of seeing another gift going into the “man drawer” to never see the light of day again? Or perhaps an Ian Rankin novel is just not screaming world’s best taxi service.... eh I mean Dad! What ever your gift giving dilemma don’t lay in despair this Father's Day, at Highland Fayre we have a wide range of luxury gift hampers to suit all dads.

We all know Dad enjoys a little tipple and some snacks while kicking back to watch the football, so why not let him do it in style with the “Cheese Lovers Choice Hamper”. Getting stuck into the finest Port, Cheeses and Chutneys we have to offer he will feel like a king in his throne.

(Cheese Lovers Choice Hamper)

Or maybe your Dad is like mine and has a massive sweet tooth. If so then the “Fathers Day Treat” hamper is for him. While he is tucking into the assortment of Van Roy Luxury Belgian Truffles, Belgian Chocolate Orange Thins and Burnt Sugar Stem Ginger Fudge; you will be earning yourself some serious brownie points for that next time you need to ask a favour.

(Father's Day Treats Hamper)

Whatever Dad’s tastes are, you can be sure we have something for him, so visit our website or if you are spoilt for choice call one of our dedicated sales advisors who will be more than happy to help.

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Highland Fayre Kids Celebrate National Bread Week

by Stewart 24. April 2013 21:01

Last week we decided to take a short break from our gift hampers and try our hands at a bit of bread making. The Highland Fayre kids immediately got into the spirit of things.

<<<<<<< Check out their bread making shenanigans.

Also share this post and we will try and tempt them into the kitchen again. For more information on Highland Fayre Hampers visit our website and follow us on twitter @GiftHamper and Facebook.

Taste of Grampian Food Festival 2013

by Stewart 19. April 2013 22:54

The Thainstone Centre in Inverurie plays host to the 14th annual Taste of Grampian Food Festival on Saturday 1st June 2013. This one day event will see approximately 14,000 visitors discovering and sampling the highest quality food and drink the North East of Scotland has to offer. We are also proud to announce some of our suppliers will be in attendance. Local companies Cocoa Ooze, Ola Oils, Walkers Shortbread Ltd and Berry Scrumptious will all be showcasing their products and engaging with the public on the day.

Growing year on year, the Taste of Grampian 2013 is set to be the best yet with the introduction of a new sea food pavilion. Carol Fowler (Organiser) told Highland Fayre that the inspiration for this new addition came from Harrods Sea Food Kitchen in London. “The pavilion will be used to highlight the important contribution that Grampian's seafood sector makes to the economy as well as promote the extensive range of fish and shellfish which are landed at towns along the coast and processed here.

As well as this, the public will get a chance to marvel at the extraordinary cooking skills of celebrity chefs Simon Rimmer & Nick Nairn, plus watch cooking demonstrations by the Two Fat Laddies and award winning cook and food writer Lady Claire Macdonald.

The day plans to have something for everyone, so while mum is ogling Simon and Nick, dad can head over to the motor show with the kids.

However, if you can’t wait until then why not visit our website and get your hands on one of our Aberdeenshire inspired hampers. It will certainly give you a taster of the delights that are in store for you on the 1st June.

The Rising Success of Young Aberdeen Chocolatier

by Stewart 12. April 2013 20:32

A man who has gone from strength to strength in the last four and a half years is Cocoa Ooze owner Jamie Hutcheon. Since starting as a 17 year old budding entrepreneur out of his parent’s kitchen, Jamie has built a highly successful luxury chocolate brand that caters for weddings, corporate events and parties, as well as tickling the taste buds of the local community in its bustling coffee shop

Offering fresh new products to the local and national confectionary markets, Cocoa Ooze looks nowhere near close to stopping its innovative ways as it has just brought out two new ice cream flavours (chocolate truffle, and White Chocolate raspberry) and is in the process of bringing out a summer range that will include a cocktail inspired flavoured chocolate.


Last month Jamie went back to where it all began as a trainee chef at the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa. This time however not to prepare three course meals but in fact to take home the Judges Choice Award at the GFF Innovation Awards. Cocoa Ooze has also been shortlisted for a further two awards at the Grampian Awards for Business Excellence for “Encouraging Entrepreneur of the Year” and “Entrepreneur Supporter of the Year” were the finalists will be decided on the 7th May 2013.

The future certainly looks bright for Cocoa Ooze as Jamie told us that he plans to open up another coffee shop in Aberdeen, in addition to having more chocolaty tricks up his sleeve that he is currently working on with local suppliers.

Not being short of a few chocoholics here at Highland Fayre we are definitely looking forward to seeing whatever mouth-watering treats that are in store and including them in our hampers over the coming months.

Keep up the good work Jamie and we wish you all the success in the up and coming awards.


JDRF Raises An Incredible £136,000!

by Stewart 4. April 2013 00:09

JDRF, a leading charity devoted to supporting medical research into curing type 1 diabetes, came one step closer to achieving its goal after it raised a whopping £136,000 on the 23rd March 2013 during its 8th annual Gala Ball. The extravagant Shanghai themed ball held at the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa Aberdeen saw 280 guests in attendance as well as BBC and ITV’s very own Dougie Donnelly as hosting the night.

(Highland Fayre Captain Cook Trunk donated to JDRF as one of its Star Raffle Prizes during its 8th annual Gala Ball)

The night was filled with inspiration and entertainment as guests heard from 11 year old Rachael Pyper (diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a year ago) and Professor John Petrie (a leader in a vital research project to reduce the risks of type 1).

Highland Fayre was also fortunate enough to be a part of JDRF’s massive achievement by donating a Luxury Gift Hamper as one of the Star Raffle Prizes held on the night.

JDRF would like to say a huge thank you to its sponsors ASCO, TAQA Bratani Ltd, Apache and Hydrasun.

A big well done to JDRF from us here at Highland Fayre and we hope to see that total increase again next year!

Master Chef Winner Liz McClarnon

by Stewart 14. May 2012 21:08

Master Chef winner and real foodie Liz McClarnon took delivery of her Highland Fayre hamper and was delighted with the contents that included an array of wine, chocolates, biscuits & cake. Liz (who has her own foodie blog where she dishes up a weekly serving of foodie trivia and recipies http://www.lizmcclarnon.com) tweeted shortly after recieving the hamper

"Thanks to Highland Fayre for the amazing hamper. The food and wine was gorgeous! Great Jubilee gift for moi! ☺"
Hope you all have a great Jubilee holiday and have lots of goodies to feast on!