Dorset Blue Vinny Cheese was once made in every farmhouse in Dorset until production stopped during the Second World War. After resurrecting a 300 year old recipe we have continued to make Dorset Blue Vinny on our farm near Sturminster Newton for almost 40 years.

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Dorset Blue Vinny

The Davies family have been making Dorset Blue Vinny at Woodbridge Farm for almost 40 years. Although we can't give away all our secrets, here's a little sneak peak into how we make our delicious cheese...
Dorset Blue Vinny takes over 24 hours to make. Each morning, we use fresh milk from our herd of 270 Friesian dairy cows. Once it’s been pasteurised, hand-skimmed and the starter culture, rennet and penicillin mould added, it’s ready to be made into cheese…!

Once the milk coagulates (sets) it is cut into small pieces before being left overnight, next morning, 'Little Miss Muffet's favourite… curds and whey have formed. The whey is drained off leaving the curd to be ground, salted and put into moulds where it stays for a few days, before being moved to the maturing room.

The cheeses need to be turned by hand every day for the first few weeks and then once a week after that. The cheeses are spiked with long narrow pins to allow air into the cheese which helps the mould grow and flavour to develop. It can take up to 20 weeks for the cheese to mature into the Dorset Blue Vinny that we all know and love. 

Once the cheese has matured and ripened, it's FINALLY ready to be munched..!

In 1998, we were the first food producer to be awarded PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status and are the only producers of Dorset Blue Vinny.

Blogs

  • Dorset Blue Vinny Wins at Great British Cheese Awards

    Dorset Blue Vinny Wins at Great British Cheese Awards

    18 Oct 2018

    On 17th October, we took our cheese up to London for the Great British Cheese awards which is organised by Great British Chefs (www.greatbritishchefs.com) and Peter's Yard (www.petersyard.com).

     

    Dorset Blue Vinny was a finalist in the Best Blue Cheese Category along with Isle of Wight Blue, Leeds Blue, Stichelton and Bath Blue. We were so proud to have even made it into the final let alone win against some truly marvellous cheeses!

     

    And just when we thought we'd done our bit and could sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of the event....

     

    Dorset Blue Vinny was also a finalist in the People's Choice Category alongside Godminster Cheddar, Leeds Blue, Tunworth, Mrs Kirkham's Lancashire Cheese and Hebden's Goats cheese. We received the most votes from the public and therefore were champions of the People's Choice Category too!!

     

    Thank you sooooo much to everyone who voted for us and has supported us over the years, we are so proud and excited to have won both of these awards and cannot thank you all enough!!

     

    Now, let's go make some cheese!!

  • The History of Dorset Blue Vinny

    The History of Dorset Blue Vinny

    28 Jun 2018

    The Dorset Blue Vinny cheese that we all know today, has evolved over time leaving behind it, a very unusual history. From being handmade by the farmer's wife in the kitchen, to being banned entirely, Dorset Blue Vinny is a unique cheese surrounded by myth and legend...!


    Traditionaly, the farmers’ wife made the cheese each morning in the farmhouse kitchen, 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 much lower fat content than many other cheeses of that time. It's said to have been the favourite cheese of author, Thomas Hardy, and is often mentioned in his novels.


    Because the cheese was hand made in the farmhouse, it has a wonderful array of stories behind the ‘blueing processes’ (how they made the mould grow). Some farmers would drag mouldy horse harnesses through the fresh milk to start the blueing, 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 slugs and slug slime! We're sure you'll be glad to know, we no longer use these methods today, but make a great modern day interpretation of the cheese.


    Dorset Blue Vinny became increasingly difficult to source after the Second World War as production had almost entirely died out- some even say Dorset Blue Vinny was once 'banned' altogether and illegal to make, sell or eat. This 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 out on your doorstep at night, in the morning a piece of Dorset Blue Vinny would appear in it's place. Other's say that it was sold under the bar in pubs, down the back alleys at night or you could get some from a man who would smuggle it up and down the country in his tiny van. Although some of these stories may simply be made up stories, one thing we do know was that it was very tricky to get your hands on some real Dorset Blue Vinny!


    In the early 1980's, Michael Davies decided to try something new to make his dairy farm profitable again and so found a 300 year old recipe for Dorset Blue Vinny. He started off 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 today.


    Michael spent several months perfecting his techniques until he'd got it just right... then was ready to share his magnificent cheese with the world!


    In 1998 we were the first food producer in the country to be awarded PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status for Dorset Blue Vinny and continue to be the only producers today. We still use the same 300 year old recipe that Michael used to start his business almost 40 years ago with only one or two modern twists!


    Alongside Dorset Blue Vinny, we also produce a wonderful range of handmade chutneys and seasonal soups, using local and seasonal produce wherever possible.

Dorset Blue Vinny was once made in nearly every farmhouse in Dorset until the Second World War when production died out entirely

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