Dorset Knob Throwing
I beg your pardon?! what?! yes, you read that correctly…KNOB THROWING. So after you’ve had your childish giggles, I will continue with the Carry On moment and inform you that there was also the knob & spoon race, putt the knob, knob or no knob amongst many other knob related double entendre. So what exactly is a knob? well its a biscuit manufactured by Moores of Dorset of course!
So when one of my fellow Instagrammers posted the flyer for the Dorset Knob Throwing event, I knew it was something Es and I had to go see for ourselves. I didn’t know what a Dorset Knob was however, and I assumed that it was in fact a cheese. We all know that this area of the country are partial to throwing, rolling and generally mistreating poor cheese wheels. I was therefore surprised to find out when we arrived that it wasn’t cheese, but the biscuit which accompanies the cheese.
The Moores family business has been baking biscuits since 1860 and been making the Dorset Knob since 1880. The biscuits are still moulded by hand and go through three separate bakings, each lasting about four hours which gives them their crispy, crunchy texture. A crunchy, almost dried out bread bun, very hard to describe, perhaps like crostini and quite difficult to eat. Traditionally eaten with blue vinny cheese but you can soften your knob by dipping it in Dorset Piddle, which is a local beer. Bored of the innuendo yet?
The event, in its tenth year, was held on the 30th April at Kingston Maurward College, which is just two miles east of Dorchester. Running alongside the Frome Valley Food Fest, there are plenty of stalls and activities to keep everyone entertained. And plenty of food and drink to keep everyone well fed and watered.
As usual, we arrived early and managed to get a good look around before the crowds poured in. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side and after about 2 hours the heavens opened and it started to rain. However, by that point we had a rucksack weighed down with about 7kg of home made produce. Despite setting ourselves a budget it had been hard to resist and we had amassed locally produced cheeses, garlic salt, chocolate brownies (which can also be delivered monthly by post) chilli and garlic olives and of course, a packet of Dorset Knobs. We had watched the knob throwing, witnessed the knob and spoon races, and watched the children play the various other knob related games available. We had sat and listened to Dorset Phil with his witty musical repartee, I particularly liked his Cerne Abbas Giant song, (very in keeping with the theme of the day) and eaten fantastic crispy squid. We had sampled every free sample that was available on each and every of the fantastic local producers stalls, alcoholic tipples included, and taken at least two trips around the huge field and tent. Despite the Frome Valley association, the food and drink producers here were different again to the producers we saw at Frome Market. And, I had also managed to meet another Instagram friend, Goldhhill Organics, face to face, which is always a great pleasure.
For an entry fee of £5 each, with parking, it was a delicious, fun and entertaining day out. The money raised goes to a good cause and helps fund local organisations and community services. Once you’ve had your fill of Knob related frivolities there is the opportunity to visit the colleges Animal Centre and Gardens. Ordinarily a £6.50 entry fee per person, by attending the event, you got in for free.
The gardens, which are grade II listed, are beautifully laid out with secret vistas, stunning planting, topiary and lovely water features. The smell of the flowers released by the rain was heavenly, and armed with an umbrella (a British staple handbag occupant) we did not skitter off home as soon as the rain started. We sat under an arbour covered in stunning blue wisteria. Wandered around the Elizabethan walled garden. And watched an elderly couple play croquet on the lawn in the rain. The gardens are managed by 5 full time gardeners, which for a site of 35 acres is not many, but they are also assisted by the horticultural students from the college.
We met black ducks with iridescent feathers, I can honestly say I have never seen a black duck before, goats, calves, donkeys and birds of prey. We got to pet the donkeys and the calves and watch the piglets suckle at a very happy momma pig, if you love animals you’ll love the college centre and the children get to feed and pet many of the baby animals.
So after a few hours of eating, petting, chatting and spending money, we hopped in our car and left. As we left, despite the rain, people were still arriving and from the number of cars in the car park, its clearly a popular event on the local calendar. The event ran from 10am until 4pm and was very well managed, from the car parking attendants keeping traffic flowing, to the commentary from the compere on the outside broadcast equipment.
We set off with the expectation of a delicious carpet picnic from all our purchases, coupled with wine and a movie to end another wonderful day.