Eat

Traditional Eats: Dorset

Inspiring a wealth of culinary gurus to make the most of its bountiful larder and create incredible dishes, Dorset is a honeypot for chefs, food critics and foodie fans. Yet amongst the innovative array, Dorset’s traditional foods remain a firm favourite.

If you are not already familiar with the famous foods to originate in Dorset, here’s our must-taste guide – the perfect accompaniment to any holiday in the county.

Dorset’s Traditional Foods

Dorset Knobs

Much loved by the famous Dorchester-born novelist, Thomas Hardy, Dorset Knobs are one of the most well-known of Dorset’s traditional eats. The star of the county’s annual knob-throwing festival, the biscuits have been made by the same company, Moores of Morecombelake, for over 150 years. Thought to have been named after a type of button, they are beautiful paired with Blue Vinny cheese or local honey and cream (known in Dorset as thunder and lightning).

Portland Lamb

A product of Dorset’s famous Portland Sheep, Portland Lamb is now a rare delicacy. Loved by King George III and once common all over Dorset, the rare breed is now sustained by dedicated breeders and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Look out for the meat on menus of pubs and restaurants and enjoy its fine, tender texture and delicious flavour. 

Apple Cake

With the region known for its juicy apples, the popularity of Dorset’s apple cakes will come as no surprise. The perfect way to reward yourself after a walk through beautiful countryside or along the stunning Jurassic Coast, a big wedge of warm apple cake dolloped with local clotted cream and served with hot tea will be an absolute treat. 

Portland Pudding

Another favourite of King George III, Portland Pudding is a delicious, rich pudding made with dried fruit and candied peel. Also known as Royal Pudding, the original recipe was concocted by the landlady of the Royal Portland Arms. So appreciated by the King was the pudding, he is said to have ordered it on several of his visits to the area and even placed an advert in the local paper to tell everyone about it. 

Blue Vinny Cheese

Certainly the most famous of Dorset’s cheeses and one of the most well-known of Dorset’s traditional foods, Blue Vinny Cheese is a crumbly delight. Named after the Dorset slang for “mouldy”, this blue cheese actually became extinct for a while before being revived in the 1980s. These days, the cheese enjoys Protected Geographical Status, ensuring only cheese made in the county can use its name.

Dorset Jugged Steak

Prepared using a traditional way of slow-cooking meat (jugging), Dorset Jugged Steak is melt-in-your-mouth tender and bursting with flavour. Once prepared for special occasions, these days it can be enjoyed at many eateries around the county and is especially lovely in winter alongside a crackling fire. 

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