Dorset is a county which is truly blessed with great produce and every summer the county hosts a series of food events which showcase the best of our food and drink.
The Month of August began with a relative newcomer to the summer fairs, The Great Dorset Chilli Festival which first took place in 2000, the annual event takes place in the grounds of St Giles Park in Wimborne St Giles. The festival celebrates all things ‘chilli’ and includes cooking exhibitions, chilli sauce competitions, chilli plant competitions and of course chilli eating competitions.
The August bank holiday saw the return of the annual Great Dorset Steam Fair which is the world’s largest heritage and cultural event showcasing Great Britain’s national, industrial and agricultural and leisure history. This event features steam tractor exhibitions, historic motor vehicles and this year, a WW1 centenary exhibition. The event takes place each year in an enormous 600 acre showground near Blandford Forum and is attended by over 200,000 people.
The following weekend Dorchester hosted the Dorset County Fair. This event has celebrated Dorset agricultural life for over 175 years. The show encompasses competitive classes in all farm animals, show jumping, horticulture and farm produce and ferret racing. The show also features exhibitors of local foods and crafts.
This weekend past Sturminster Newton held the 18th annual Cheese Festival, a celebration of wonderful cheeses, food and drink from Dorset and the South West. ‘Stur’ is in Blackmore Vale an area which Thomas Hardy described as the ‘Vale of Little Dairies’ and a great base for this festival. This year there were over 50 producers of food and drink all showcasing their wares in 3 giant food marquees. In addition, there was a theatre area where local chefs demonstrated cooking exhibitions throughout the day.