Planning a relaxing stay in Bournemouth? If you’re visiting one of our Travelodge hotels and looking for a way to soak up some local flavour, then you might want to try some traditional delicacies from the region.
With plenty of fresh-caught seafood and locally grown fruit and vegetables, Bournemouth’s cuisine is full of tasty surprises. Here are some of our favourites:
1. Lettuce soup
It doesn’t sound flavoursome, but cooked with local specialist know-how, this dish can offer a delicious, warming treat that is light and subtle. The flavour is quite like asparagus soup, so if you’re a fan of the spears, you’ll love it.
Dorset’s fertile soil was the first in England to successfully grow cabbages, which can be used as a substitute for lettuce. Other vegetables are sometimes added for extra flavour, as well as lemon juice, garlic or cream. Many local cafés will serve warm soups for lunch, particularly in winter, so keep your eyes peeled for this local speciality on the menu.
2. Haddock casserole
A hearty dish made with fresh-caught haddock from off the Dorset coast. In a traditional haddock casserole the fish is cooked with tomatoes and mushrooms, and then topped with cheese and breadcrumbs.
You can find haddock casserole at most local seafood restaurants, and there are plenty of great ones to choose from. WestBeach overlooks Bournemouth Pier and serves up the catch of the day fresh to your plate. If you’re willing to travel, the Watch House Cafe in Bridport serves huge bowls of mussels, traditional fish and chips, and the all-important haddock.
3. Dorset lamb crumble
One of the greatest British dishes you’ve probably never heard of. Dorset lamb crumble was originally created as a way to use up leftover meat scraps. Chunks of lamb are mixed with rough-cut onions and spices, then baked under a layer of crumbed flour and butter, just like a sweet crumble. The textures make this dish delicious tough to resist. Wash it all down with a glass of local cider or Dorset wine.
4. Dorset apple cake
There are many variations on the Dorset apple cake recipe and locals tend to have their own favourite (naturally), but we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to try all of them. The standard recipe uses cooking apples and creates a cake that looks a lot like a scone. The level of spices, eggs and butter varies with the baker. For a taste of home-baked apple cake visit Elizabeth’s Cake Shop on Southbourne Grove.
5. Dorset Blue Vinney
Also known as Dorset Blue, this local cheese is a source of great pride. A firm, white cheese with veins of blue, it is made using partly-skimmed cow’s milk and has been a favourite in the county for centuries. Legend has it that in order to encourage the growth of the blue mould in the cheese, farmers would dip old shoes or riding harnesses into the pot. These days it is made far more hygienically! You can find Dorset Blue in all good local delicatessens, or head to the Winton Farmers Market on Cardigan Road.
Travelodge have a hotel in Bournemouth that’s handily close to the city centre and the seafront, so you can sample the local food and drink, and all that the Dorset coast has to offer from a convenient base.