Dorset Knob throwing - photo Chris Ould
Throwing a Dorset knob
It sounds unusual but the explanation is simple. A knob is a traditional type of Dorset bread - and at a food festival last May Day weekend visitors took part in a throwing competition, which its organisers hope will be a new Dorset tradition.
When the organisers of The Dorset and Frome Valley Food Festival, Nigel and Shelley Collins, wanted to add something special to the event they hit upon the idea of a knob throwing competition.
Nigel says: "A knob is a spherical biscuit, like a hard baked bread. It's produced by Moores Bakers in Morcombelake, west of Bridport, and has been since the 1860s.
"It's made from leftover dough and it will keep and keep and keep - men used to take them to work, and I can tell you it goes very well with Dorset Blue Vinney cheese [a traditional Dorset blue cheese], and cider."
Visitors can sample local food
The inspiration for the competition came when Nigel was watching an episode of the Robbie Coltrane series B-Road Britain, when the actor witnesses a Yorkshire Pudding throwing game.
Nigel took the idea and, with the baker's permission, created a thoroughly Dorset-based version of it.
He says: "It's very much a tongue-in-cheek thing, but it's caught peoples' imagination."
The food festival has just has its second yearly event and Nigel's hoping the knob throwing events will begin a new Dorset food tradition, joining other familiar fixtures such as the Marshwood nettle eating contest.
Nigel says the winner from the 2008 knob throwing contest was a guy from South Africa, who threw it 22.8 metres and is proud to say that the prize has now returned to a local.
He says: "It's back in Dorset! We got a fantastic throw by lunchtime from a guy called Ben, who threw over 23 metres.
"But then another guy, Phillip, from Cattistock threw 26.1 metres.
"I didn't see him throw myself but from what I heard it was a 'text book' throw - incredible! He's really laid down the challenge for next year."
Knob and spoon race - photo Chris Ould
Throwers of a Dorset Knob need to follow strict rules.
Nigel says: "Basically you get three goes. You throw underarm from a standing point and there are trophies for best ladies, best gent and best child."
Other knob-related activities at the food festival include Guess the weight of the knob, knob and spoon race, knob darts and knob painting.
Nigel confirms this year's new record breaker played by those rules:
He says: "He was spot on, and it was definitely a standard issue Dorset Knob!"
Supporting the community
As well as raising the profile, and helping to support, some of the local food producers, the festival also helps raise funds for the villages of Cattistock and Maiden Newton.
Nigel says: "I've helped run the village fete for years, but the food festival is a newer idea.
"There aren't many villages the size of Cattistock - less than 500 people - that has its own football club [with Maiden Newton], its own cricket club, and the festival is to help raise funds to support these, and other community projects.
"At the first festival in 2008 we had 34 food producers and 1,200 visitors, even in the rain, and this year I'd say 5,000 people. We were delighted, we had an incredible number of people."
Nigel says the event, including the Knob Throwing competition, will return in 2010 on May 2.
last updated: 06/05/2009 at 09:56