East Loth­ian leads the way in top-qual­ity, home-made pro­duce.

No. 1 Magazine - - INTERIORS & LIFESTYLE -

The East Loth­ian Food & Drink Busi­ness Im­prove­ment District (BID), is the first of its kind in the world, shar­ing re­sources, mar­ket­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion. We fo­cus on five lead­ing lights of the col­lab­o­ra­tion and find out why East Loth­ian has some­thing to boast about.

LUCA’S ICE CREAM, MUS­SEL­BURGH A third-gen­er­a­tion, fam­ily-run busi­ness that dates back to 1908, Luca’s ice cream is famed through­out the county. The orig­i­nal recipe of com­pany founder Luca Scap­pat­ic­cio is still in use, and while the tra­di­tional flavours of vanilla, straw­berry and choco­late still pre­vail, newer kids on the ice cream block in­clude New York Lime Cheese­cake and Tof­fee Fudgy Wudgy. You’ll find Luca’s pro­duce all over East Loth­ian and Ed­in­burgh and if you’re lucky you’ll be served from a vin­tage Rolls Royce ice cream van that tours around lo­cal re­sorts and parks. “It’s a gen­er­a­tion game, both for the fam­ily and our cus­tomers,” says mar­ket­ing director Clark White­head, who is mar­ried to Luca’s grand­daugh­ter Leonora. “Mums and dads, grannies and grand­pas are all re­liv­ing the Luca ex­pe­ri­ence.”the Luca café/ice cream sa­lon on Mus­sel­burgh’s High Street is a pop­u­lar meet­ing place for morn­ing cof­fee, but it’s the ice cream that is the draw – and a de­li­cious one at that.

NB GIN, NORTH BERWICK What started as a hobby for gin-lovers Steve and Viv Muir has turned into a suc­cess­ful, global prod­uct. Viv ad­mits that since the com­pany was set up in 2013, things have re­ally es­ca­lated. “Some­times I have to pinch my­self,” she says. “When Steve and I started we were dis­till­ing gin with test tubes and a pres­sure cooker in our kitchen! Now we’re sup­ply­ing mar­kets in Lon­don and as far afield as China and Sin­ga­pore.” It was very much a leap of faith for the Muirs. Both were suc­cess­ful lawyers and to fi­nance the busi­ness plus build a new dis­tillery in North Berwick, pen­sions were cashed in and belts were tight­ened as the cou­ple waited to see if their ven­ture would take off. Take off? It’s vir­tu­ally fly­ing!

BLACK & GOLD RAPESEED OIL, HADDINGTON Louise Elder’s oils come from 160 acres of rapeseed farmed at Steven­son Mains near Haddington. Louise heads the BID con­glom­er­ate, and be­lieves its “one for all and all for one” ethos is the se­cret be­hind its suc­cess. “We’re all work­ing for each other and any new busi­ness join­ing the ven­ture knows the sup­port it will re­ceive will be sec­ond to none,” she says. “We can tackle com­mon prob­lems, cre­ate a col­lec­tive iden­tity and a more vi­brant econ­omy.” The Elder fam­ily have been in­volved in grape­seed farm­ing for over 25 years. Black & Gold Oil made its first ap­pear­ance in 2010 and comes in its orig­i­nal form as well as the Di­jon Vinai­grette ver­sion. The mus­tard flavour­ing in the lat­ter will give a nice kick to any salad. Thanks to BID and Louise’s en­tre­pre­neur­ial skills, her pro­duce can be found the length and breadth of the UK keep­ing the East Loth­ian flag fly­ing proudly. www.blackand­

THE CHOCO­LATE TREE, HADDINGTON The suc­cess of the busi­ness built up by Ali and Friederike Gower can be summed up in four words – Prod­uct of the Year. This ac­co­lade was awarded at the re­cent Scot­tish Food and Drinks Ex­cel­lence Awards, un­der­lin­ing the Gow­ers’ aim to pro­duce de­li­cious, qual­ity choco­late at af­ford­able prices. They work di­rectly with ca­cao grow­ers, im­port­ing beans di­rect to their Haddington choco­late fac­tory. “Whisky Nibs, the prod­uct that won the award, is made from Is­lay whisky and Peru­vian ca­cao,” says Ali. “We also won Cho­co­latier of the Year 2017 so we are feel­ing quite pleased with our­selves!” The Choco­late Tree is part of the Scot­tish Choco­latiers Net­work, of which Ali is sec­re­tary. “We have stayed true to our vi­sion for the busi­ness, and worked hard,” he con­tin­ues. “We don’t do things the easy way, and we have a great pas­sion for what we do. Our def­i­ni­tion of suc­cess is hap­pi­ness, and ful­fil­ment from our work. We achieve this by en­sur­ing that our busi­ness is mak­ing a pos­i­tive im­pact.” www.choco­late­

KNOPS BEER COM­PANY, DIRLETON A grad­u­ate of the Brew­ing and Dis­till­ing de­gree course at Ed­in­burgh’s He­riot Watt univer­sity, Robert Knops set up his own busi­ness in 2010, mov­ing to a pur­pose-built brew­ery at Archer­field Es­tates, a cou­ple of miles west of Dirleton. The Es­tates re­stored the his­toric walled gar­dens and cre­ated a new build­ing that houses a bar/restau­rant, farm shop and the Knops Brew­ery. Be­ing in a brand new site, Robert can en­joy brand new equip­ment and state-of- the-art bot­tling and la­belling, en­sur­ing that ev­ery­thing is done on one premises. Robert’s out­put is ap­prox­i­mately 2,700 litres of which 65% is draught, the re­main­der bot­tled. He also sup­plies ales for the es­tate it­self, la­belled Archer­field Fine Ales. One of his own ales has a lo­cal con­nec­tion, Mus­sel­burgh Broke. It will have ring of fa­mil­iar­ity to those who fre­quent the town’s race­course! www.knops­

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