Dorset Blue Vinny...
Blue Vinny is the iconic Dorset Cheese, and one of a select band of British cheeses to be recognised and protected by law. More importantly, it tastes great!
Dorset Blue can only be made in Dorset and to a strict recipe from milk produced in the county.
Once made by many dairies and farmhouse kitchens throughout Dorset’s milk producing areas, the cheese is now only made at Woodbridge Farm, near Sturminster Newton, using milk from the farm’s own herd of cows.
The cheese is a traditional one, with blue veining, from which it gets its name. But unlike many other blue cheeses, such as Stilton, Dorset Blue Vinny is made from milk after the cream has been skimmed off, making it lower in fat and giving it a more crumbly texture than it’s higher fat counterparts.
Great cheeses, like great wines, owe much to where and how they are produced. And tend to have great stories and traditions behind them. Dorset Blue Vinny is one such cheese.
It has been recognised by the European Commission as one of a select group of foods worthy of carrying its “Protected Geographical Indication” (PGI) mark. Production of Dorset Blue is regularly checked by independent inspectors to make sure that it is only made according to the specification required by this internationally recognised speciality food mark from milk produced in Dorset.
This EU recognition means that Dorset Blue Vinny is right up there with world renowned cheeses like Stilton, Reblochon, and Parmagiano- Reggiano, in being one of less that 200 cheeses that are registered and recognised by the EU because of the special way in which they have been produced or the characteristics of the area in which they are made.
Dorset Blue’s registration describes this delicious cheese as being: “Lightly pressed cheese with a firm texture. Uniform colour with irregular blue/green veining and rough dry brown mould coating. Piquant, peppery, mild to strong flavour.”
It also states that: “The county of Dorset, where the cows graze, is renowned for its dairying. Low lying permanent pasture on top of Oxford clay produces lush sward which contributes to the flavour of the milk.”
This wonderful cheese has been made in Dorset for generations, so it’s not impossible that Angel Clare and Tess Durbeville, when imagined by great Dorset novelist Thomas Hardy at the dairy at “Talbothayes”, would have made and eaten cheeses just like these.
With any luck, with the help of EU protected status, generations to come will be able to enjoy it too! Try it yourself, but make sure you look for or ask to see the PGI roundel, to make sure you’re not being passed off with some other blue cheese.
You’ll find Dorset Blue in deli’s and farm shops, as well as some supermarkets. But maybe the best way to enjoy it is as part of a real Dorset ploughman’s pub lunch or as part of a home-made picnic out in the wonderful Dorset Countryside!
Great cheeses, like great wines, owe much to where and how they are produced. And tend to have great stories and traditions behind them. Dorset Blue Vinny is one such cheese....."