In the spotlight with ... Iain Burnett, the Highland Chocolatier

Who doesn’t love chocolate? This month we get up close with Scotland’s master chocolatier himself Iain Burnett and find out a little more about the Highland Chocolatier and how he came up with the idea to create such decadent and delicious chocolates using some of Scotland’s finest ingredients.

1. In five words sum up how you would describe your business?

Passion, artisan, gourmet, excellence, service.

2. Where did the idea to get started come from and what has given you the motivation to carry things through?

Family. My Dad brought me up helping in the kitchen and he had a passion for honing his skills, and combining the best of Scottish ingredients with the more exotic. I inherit the perfectionism from my Mum!

The determination to keep going when things are tough is definitely an example from my parents too.

The happiness on customers faces when they first taste the Velvet Truffle is a profound motivating factor. Colleagues in business who have supported me in a simple human way have also been pillars to get through the tough times.

3. What has been the main obstacle and how have you overcome this?

Skills. In such a transient culture it’s very risky investing in developing the skills in people who may drop out. The trick has been to identify people who are as personally motivated by the same values as I am – not necessarily coming from the fields you might expect!

4. What exciting things can be expected in the future?

Ah, that would be telling! Although some unusually delicate long Velvet Truffles are in development, relying on the difference in flavour of cocoas from some particular countries.

5. How do you think Scotland’s food and drink industry will evolve over the next five years?

Individuals in the different fields of food and drink have a great responsibility to choose whether to cash in short term or invest to be at the cutting edge, but I believe Scots are realising their unique set of circumstances which allow them to excel in the area of artisan production.

Amongst others, I’m really crossing my fingers for a bread revival to bring back the great Scottish handmade loaf!

6. Dead or alive which five famous faces would you like to have for dinner and what would you cook?

Fame is in the eye of the beholder, but if I could make unenrobed Velvet Truffles for my dad, Abraham Lincoln, Buddha, Abdu’l-Baha and Albert Einstein, I think I would get the world’s straightest critique of my work!

7. What is your favourite taste of summer in Scotland?

Dark loganberries are a real treat – hard to find as they don’t lend themselves to commercial harvesting. But redcurrants…. straight from the bush! As a kid I would sometimes munch a whole bunch straight off the stalks without taking them off the bush. My parents thought we had a bird problem.

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Recipe of the month...

herb crusted rack of lamb

For a quick but satisfying alternative to your normal Sunday lunch, this recipe for herb crusted rack of lamb, shared with us by Balgove Larder, the farm shop, butchery and cafe near St Andrews, is a must. Serve with risotto, garnished with Parmesan and a drizzle of your best olive oil and you’ve got a lighter but equally delicious Sunday lunch dish, ideal for the summer months.


Olive oil

1 rack lamb, Frenched (ask your butcher to do this for you)

50g breadcrumbs

10g fresh mixed herbs

2 tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper


1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Combine the breadcrumbs and herbs together with a little salt and pepper and blitz to a fine consistency.

3. Season the rack with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in sauté pan and sear rack of lamb on all sides. Allow it to cool slightly. Spread the mustard over the top-side of the rack and then coat with a generous layer of the breadcrumb mix.

4. Put the lamb in the oven. It needs to be roasted for 20 minutes for medium rare, or 25 to 30 if you prefer the meat more done. After this, let it rest for 10 minutes.

5. Remove lamb from the oven and slice it into 1 rib portions. Two to three ribs each serve moderate appetites, or four if you’re feeling ravenous.

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Kitchen cupboard essentials

No one does smoothies quite like David and Luise, founders of the hugely popular Green Kitchen Stories food blog.

Green Kitchen Smoothies is the newest addition to their collection of healthy cookbooks that blend their love of food and nutrition with stylish photography. It includes more than 50 new and modern recipes for smoothie enthusiasts and newbies alike. Whizz up a superberry and fennel smoothie to kick start your morning or boost your energy levels with a mocha morning buzz.

(Published by Hardie Grant Books priced £15.00 Hardback).

Looking for a twist on your typical burger to throw on the BBQ if we ever get a summer?

Balgove Larder’s Moroccan lamb burgers are full of Middle Eastern flavour and it’s own minced lamb, perfect for the BBQ.

Mix up chopped mint or mint jelly with a bit of nice thick greek yogurt for a lovely fresh topping.

Then, add some crisp lettuce and a little pickled red onion and you’re good to go! (

Nothing says summer quite like freshly handpicked berries, served with meringues and cream.

To get the pick of the crop head to West Craigie Farm Shop, Border Berries or Belhaven Fruit Farm to pick your own. Children will love it and it’s a great day out during the summer holidays.