If you’re looking to visit Dorset to get know its traditional food, you’re bang in luck. From famous delicacies that were the favourite foods of world-renowned writers to Michelin Star standard fine-dining, via festivals where you can try all the titbits your heart desires, there’s something to tickle your taste buds in Dorset. But where to start?! Our Dorset food and drink guide explains all…
One of Dorset’s most famous delicacies is Dorset knob which a hard-dry savoury biscuit that has become the focal point of the famous knob throwing competition that takes place every May. The main ingredient is bread dough with added sugar and butter. The biscuits are shaped by hand before being baked three times. This makes the biscuits very crumbly and is comparable to stale bread in consistency. They gain their name due to similarities in shape to a Dorset knob button, but it could also be comparable to the size of a doorknob Traditionally Dorset knobs are eaten with cheese and the meal is said to have been the favourite food of author Thomas Hardy.
Another export from the county is Dorset Blue Vinney cheese which is made in Sturminster Newton. The cheese is hard, crumbly cheese that has a strong distinctive taste and smell. Originally the cheese was a by-product in the production of Dorset butter which was in high demand in London. Blue Vinney is often served with Dorset Knobs in many establishments across the county.
With nearly 100 miles of coastline, it’s hardly surprising that seafood makes a regular appearance on menus across the county. Head to Poole or Weymouth and enjoy a meal with the freshest of fish that come into the town’s harbours on a daily basis. There are a number of smaller harbours found in Christchurch, Swanage, Lyme Regis, Wareham and West Bay where you’ll be able to taste the catch of the day with an estimated 230 fishing vessels still operating out of the county today.
If you’re a fan of fine dining, then you will be spoilt for choice with several award-winning restaurants found in Dorset. For Michelin Star dining head to Sienna in Dorchester where you’ll be served modern British food prepared with fresh seasonal ingredients. Further award-winning restaurants in Dorset are found at the Riverside Restaurant in Bridport and The Greyhound Inn in Corfe Castle amongst others. Celebrity chefs who have restaurants in Dorset include Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Mark Hix, Lesley Waters and Alex Aitken. Your four-legged friend won’t be left out while you’re on a Dorset holiday with many dog-friendly pubs and dog-friendly restaurants found in the county where your pooch will be warmly welcomed with a drink and even a snack.
Breweries are found all over Dorset with these independent companies brewing ales with a unique taste and inspired by the beautiful surroundings. Why not pick up a few bottles to enjoy when you return home or stop by a pub and treat yourself to a few pints?
Many towns across Dorset also host food and drink festivals throughout the year with perhaps the most famous of these being the Dorset Knob Throwing Festival which has gained notoriety for the uniqueness of the event. Dorset Seafood Festival takes place in Weymouth every July raising awareness of the fantastic range of sea life that is caught off the coast.