The History of Dorset Blue Vinny
Dorset Blue Vinny was once made in nearly every farmhouse in Dorset until the Second World War when production died out entirely
Historically, the farmers’ wife made the cheese using left over milk after the cream had been skimmed off to make butter. As a result, it had a very crumbly, dry texture and a lower fat content than many other cheeses.
The cheese has a wonderful array of stories behind the ‘blueing processes’. Some would drag mouldy horse harnesses through the milk, or store the maturing cheeses next to farmer’s dirty boots to encourage the mould to grow, whereas others took an even more unusual approach and used slug slime!
Thankfully, we no longer use these methods today, but make a great modern day interpretation of the cheese.
As the cheese became increasingly difficult to source after the war (some even say it was once banned entirely), it made way for opportunists to sell other blue cheeses under the guise of Dorset Blue Vinny. Legend has it, if you whispered in the right person’s ear in the local pub and left money on the doorstep, in the morning a piece of cheese would appear!
In the early 1980s, Michael Davies resurrected Dorset Blue Vinny using a 300 year old recipe. He started in the farmhouse garage and used the kitchen pantry as a maturing room, turning the walls, floor and even the cornflakes blue with mould. He was soon given an ultimatum by his wife to move out to the old cow byre where we continue to make the cheese now.
In 1998 we were the first food producer in the country to be awarded a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status for the cheese and continue to be the only producers of Dorset Blue Vinny today.
Today, we still produce Dorset Blue Vinny to the same 300 year old recipe with only one or two modern twists. Alongside our cheese we also produce a range of handmade chutneys and seasonal soups, making the best use of local and seasonal fruits and vegetables.