September is one of our all time favourite months here in Dorset. We’re often fortunate enough to continue getting a good dose of warm sunshine and balmy days, but to be honest, we’re just as excited when that autumnal feeling arrives. We love to indulge in the yummy flavours that autumn brings - blackberries and apples, and luckily for us, both can be found in their bucket load in our wonderful county. Today we explore how easy it is to enjoy the taste of autumn straight from the bush, as a delicious cup of tea or with a yummy muffin recipe!
Blackberry foraging in Dorset
The hedgerows in Dorset are absolutely jam packed with blackberries. These delicious dark berries are generally found in woodland, hedges, heaths and roadside verges and with mile after mile of gorgeous countryside it won’t take you long to spot a bush teeming with fruit. The thorny plants, once used by early Britons to protect property, are found all over the county, giving us plenty of opportunities to forage for the juicy fruits. Here are some great spots to enjoy the gorgeous Dorset countryside and hunt for wild fruits at the same time!
The Jurassic Coast offers gorgeous views all year round but there is something exhilarating about an autumnal trek in this dramatic area with the low sunshine and blustering winds. There is a good 2.5 mile trail that will take you along Chesil Beach and up over the fields of Limekiln Hill with views out over Lyme Bay and it’s here that you’ll spot the bushes laden with berries.
Wick and Hengistbury Head
Setting off alongside the River Stour from the pretty village of Wick (Bournemouth) you can complete a lovely 6-mile loop that takes you up to the golden sandstone headland of Hengistbury Head and back. You’ll join part of the Stour Valley Way and as you meander along this picturesque section of Dorset countryside you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to places to stop and pick blackberries. You might not need a spade for this walk but you’ll certainly need a bucket!
The Cuttings, Portland
The Cuttings is a well known climbing spot, but it makes for a lovely quiet walk where you can enjoy gorgeous coastal views, marvel at the climbers doing their thing and enjoy foraging for the local berries. Start at the tiny Portland museum and head down towards the remains of Rufus Stone castle. You may want to take a short detour and head down the steps to enjoy the gorgeous Church Ope Cove, but for the berries, continue along the coast path and you’ll reach the inland crag that the climbers will be heading for. Along the way you’ll be able to munch on the berries - see how many you can manage to save to take home!
Pick your own
If you’d rather have a guaranteed haul of fruit then heading to a pick your own farm in Dorset is a great option.
Cat and Fiddle
Located just towards the edge of the New Forest you’ll find the Cat and Fiddle PYO farm and café. With almost 20 different varieties of fruits, veggies and flowers grown year round it’s a popular spot although much of their produce is sold throughout Dorset and further afield at farmer’s markets. With blackberries available from August until October it’s a great place to get some of the juiciest berries!
Run by the same outfit as the Cat and Fiddle (Dan Tanners), Sopley Farm is arguably the nicer of the two locations as it’s tucked away down a country lane. With its very own solar powered bakery you can also pick up some utterly delicious sweet and savoury treats once you have filled your blackberry containers!
Fruit tea blends inspired by Dorset desserts
Inspired by Dorset’s autumn fruits, our talented blenders have come up with some of our tastiest fruit teas yet. You may have all ready tried our Yummy Apple Cake tea, which we launched earlier in the year. A blend of black tea, apple, fruit and spices come together to produce the most wonderfully balanced Apple Cake flavoured cuppa! And now, inspired by an old English dessert we bring you the Blackberry Syllabub tea blend! With juicy blackberries and indulgent cream flavours, this fruit infusion is as deliciously decadent as the dessert itself! Now you can get the taste of your favourite autumn puds in minutes by simply grabbing a cup, a tea bag and adding freshly boiled water!
Desserts with a tea twist
If you’re all ready hooked by this year’s Great British Bake Off then why not test out your own culinary skills and see if you can incorporate some of our favourite tea blends into a bake! Earlier in the year Lizzie, from the Baking Bird in Upwey, Dorset treated us to the most delicious Dorset Tea Dorset Apple Cake. She created a seriously yummy bake packed full of fruit soaked in our Apple Cake blend.
Now Lizzie is back with a blackberry muffin recipe that makes use of an afternoon’s foraging amongst the hedgerows combined with the taste of Dorset Tea’s Blackberry Syllabub tea …
Makes 8 muffins
- 125g sunflower oil
- 150g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 190g wholemeal flour
- 100g plain white flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 125g blackberries
- 2 Dorset Tea Blackberry Syllabub tea bags
- 1 dessertspoon of sugar (optional)
How to Make
- Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180C
- Pop the kettle on. Bring the water to the boil and infuse 2 teabags with the 100ml freshly boiled water for 10 minutes or so.
- Put the sunflower oil, sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder into a bowl. Whisk these for a minute or two until the ingredients are brought together.
- Drain the blackberries and add the residual tea to the muffin mix and stir until the tea is totally incorporated.
- Put 8 muffin wrappers in a muffin tin. Divide the mixture and fill each case. Pop the blackberries on top and put them in the oven for around 25 – 30 minutes until cooked through - the muffin top will be bouncy. Or you can put a skewer in and if it comes out clean they are cooked.
- Take them from the oven and if using, sprinkle the sugar over the top.
You can eat these for breakfast, with tea for a mid-morning snack or top them with vanilla buttercream for afternoon tea.
If you love the sound of our latest fruit tea infusions then head over to our tea shop – prices start at just £2.79. And if you decide to get creative in the kitchen then we’d love to hear from you! Tweet us @dorset_tea or share your images and tag us on instagram @dorsetteauk