Dorset is full of famous foods, many of which you can find right here, but when you’re in the region, why not make a point of sampling some of the traditional treats that originated in the county?
A favourite of Dorchester’s popular author, Thomas Hardy, is the Dorset Knob, which, although the focus of the annual Knob Throwing Competition that takes place every May, aren’t all that easy to find these days. If you’re not sure what they are, Dorset Knobs are a hard, dry, savoury biscuit that looks like a bread roll and is typically eaten with cheese. These days Dorset Knobs are only produced by one company, so you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for them.
Because of the diverse landscape, livestock in Dorset produce some incredible dinners. One famous breed is the Portland Sheep, they produce high quality meat with a fine texture and an excellent flavour. The special flavour is due to the long time it takes for the sheep to mature and the need for it to be hung for a longer time to enhance the tenderness. If you’re a fan of lamb, be sure to look out for Portland Lamb on the menus of restaurants and pubs.
Meat fans will also want to look out for Jugged Steak. Jugging is a method of slow cooking which is traditional to Dorset. The method of cooking retains all the flavours of the meat while mingling them with other ingredients included.
Another famous Dorset export that you’ll have likely heard of and absolutely must try when you’re stopping by at one of the area’s cafes or tearooms is Dorset Apple Cake. This region is well known for the quality of its apples and so it’s no surprise that they appear in several recipes. Dorset Apple Cake also contains mixed spices and is on pretty much every menu served with a dollop of locally made clotted cream.
While we’re talking about puddings, another traditional pudding from Dorset is the Portland Pudding, otherwise known as a Royal Pudding. These so-called originated from King George III’s many visits to Dorset, his favourite haunt was the Royal Portland Arms whose landlady came up with the Portland Pudding. Apparently, the king loved it so much that he had an advert placed in the local paper to tell everyone about it.
Perhaps the most well-known of Dorset’s exports is Dorset Blue Vinny. This traditional, crumbly cheese is named for some Dorset slang, the word ‘vinew’ which means mouldy. Blue cheese from Dorset has actually been granted Protected Geographical Status, so only cheese made in the region can use the name. Grab a few slices to eat with a Dorset Knob!
Have you sampled any of these traditional Dorset foods?
Make sure to check our Eat tab to find all the restaurants, cafes and tea rooms in the region where you can find many of these delicacies!