Food and drink

Dorset is famous for the quality of its food and drink. With fresh seafood in abundance and plenty of local produce, Dorset will not disappoint.

The area is well known for its apple cake – a delicious sweet cake often with a touch of cinnamon. It can be found at most of the tearooms dotted around the county.

Portland Sheep are the local breed but they are rare, with only about 20 registered flocks in the county. The  resulting Portland lamb is exceptionally high-quality with a fine texture,  and  wonderful flavour. This is because the sheep take longer to mature and the meat needs to be hung for longer. It is also naturally lean.

Favourites of George III

King George III regularly visited Dorset and he loved the food. The National Standard of Literature, Science, Music, Theatricals and the Fine Arts (1838) says: “During the residence of George the Third at Weymouth, his majesty and suite frequently visited the Royal Portland Arms, one of the best houses of entertainment on the island. The landlady’s art of cooking was of a very superior cast, and never failed to afford the highest satisfactions. His majesty’s palate, indeed, was so particularly gratified with a pudding of her composition, that he ordered it to be advertised in the Dorset County Chronicle, and christened it the Royal pudding. It is positively stated, moreover, that, on one occasion, his majesty and suite, having found the taste of the Royal Pudding so exquisite, actually remained at table until a second edition of it was produced, for which they had all reserved a corner.”

George III also enjoyed another local delicacy – wheatears.  According to DORSET IMTQR&Ii HISTORY AND FIELD MB  “The shy, lively, clannish birds, wheatears, are known at Portland by no other name than ” Snalters,” or “Snort- ers. They are expected to come to the Island each year on  the first foggy day in March;  in July the place used to be full of them, and they are still plentiful in that month; early in September they depart. They were regarded as a dainty and delicious article of food. King George III was very fond of them; and, cooked in the most approved method, they were provided for him during his visits to John Penn at the  Girt House  and Pennsylvania Castle.”

Find out about todays food and drink producers

Sienna is a Michelin Star restaurant in Dorchester serving fresh, seasonal ingredients and fine wines in a relaxed atmosphere. Further accolades include 3AA rosettes and a listing in The Good Food Guide. It’s definitely worth going to if you like fine dining.