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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 15:01 GMT
Centre puts shortbread on the map
Dean's of Huntly website
Dean's exports shortbread all over the world
Scotland's first visitor centre dedicated to shortbread is opening in Aberdeenshire.

The 1.2m attraction is being unveiled in Huntly by local firm Dean's, which makes millions of the product annually.

Managing director Bill Dean said: "There are visitor centres for whisky and tartan but we are the first to put shortbread on the map like this."

Visitors to the centre can watch shortbread being made and learn about its history.

Dean's exports shortbread - which is made from sugar, butter and flour - as far afield as Canada, Japan and Australia.

Ask anyone to come up with words describing Scotland and you'll hear whisky, tartan and shortbread
Bill Dean
Managing director

It was founded more than 30 years ago by Helen Dean, who passed away recently aged 70.

Mrs Dean first began baking shortbread in the family kitchen to raise funds for Huntly Pipe Band. She set up a small business as demand for her shortbread increased.

Her son Mr Dean said: "There are more and more people visiting Scotland and many of them are looking for places to come on a day trip or somewhere to stop along the way.

"Ask anyone to come up with words describing Scotland and you'll hear whisky, tartan and shortbread.

"Who knows, maybe shortbread could soon be up there along with the whisky and castle trails."

'Growing sector'

He added: "We are totally committed to the area and what we do. The last 30 years have been amazing and we'll keep working on new ideas to make sure the next 30 are the same."

The company has been supported over the years by economic development agency Scottish Enterprise Grampian, with assistance to break into overseas markets and develop new products.

Jane MacLeod, manager for growing business at SE Grampian, said: "We're here to support ambitious companies, investing in them to bring new products to new markets quicker.

"Food tourism is a growing sector and there is increasing demand from visitors for high-quality, niche products local to the area they are visiting and we would wish Dean's well with their new venture."

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