CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Life CLICK HERE

Say cheese!

11:50 14 August 2008

Award-winning cheese-makers Anne and Andy Wigmore, of Riseley, certainly have something to smile about. Their product is in demand from delis to Harvey Nic's...

IMAGES: Jeff Hopkins

How long have you been making cheese?
We started Village Maid in 1986 when we lived in Spencers Wood, two miles from Riseley, in a small purpose-built room in the back garden. I worked at the National Institute for Research in Dairying in Shinfield for 10 years and learnt how to make cheese there, experimenting with different milks and types of cheese. My husband was a freelance journalist and slowly did more and more cheese-making until he was full-time.

What first made you go into the business?
We wanted to set up our own small business from home before starting a family and as I had visited several small cheese-makers in my job at the NIRD I was very keen to develop a cheese of our own.

Tell us about your cheeses.
We make three different cheeses by hand using vegetarian rennet, without artificial additives. Spenwood is a hard-pressed cheese made from unpasteurised ewe's milk. It has a nutty flavour but, kept longer, it becomes harder and more piquant and a good substitute for parmesan. Wigmore is a nutty flavoured, semi-soft cheese made from unpasteurised ewe's milk. Waterloo is a mild, semi-soft Guernsey milk cheese with a buttery flavour and a sharp after-taste. Its yellow colour is due to the natural carotene in the unpasteurised milk which comes from a single herd of pedigree Guernsey cows.

What's the philosophy behind Village Maid?
We have kept the business small in order to keep a hands-on approach and maintain a good quality of life while our children have grown up. The quality of the cheese is far more important to us than the quantity. We make around a thousand cheeses a week and still don't have enough most weeks to satisfy the orders. Even after 20 years we are still tweaking the recipes that we originally developed to maintain consistency and reach perfection.

What makes you different from other cheesemakers?
Hand-made cheese is very labour intensive and we have an invaluable team of local part-time ladies working with us to keep production going. We produce quality cheeses, each with a unique flavour, without mechanisation.

Who are your customers?
Local farm shops and delis, Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nicholls, and a lot of local restaurants including L'Ortolan, Shinfield, My A La Carte, Caversham, The Mill House, Swallowfield, The Crown, Playhatch, LSq2, Green Park, Reading, Crown Plaza, Reading, The New Mill, Eversley.

Have you won any awards?
At the annual British Cheese Awards over the past 14 years Wigmore has won 11 Gold awards, Best English Cheese twice and Best Semi-soft Cheese twice. Spenwood and Waterloo have won Gold, Silver and Bronze awards with Spenwood getting Best Cheese Lovers award once.

Where can we buy your cheeses?
Local farm shops and delis: Wellington Farmshop, Stratfield Saye; Lockey Farmshop, Arborfield; Wickcroft farmshop, Theale; County Deli, Reading; Grey's Deli, Pangbourne; Casey Fields farmshop, Ashampstead; Roots Deli, High Wycombe. Mail order from Neal's Yard Dairy and Fine Cheese Co Bath.

Find out more:
Anne and Andy Wigmore. The Cottage, Basingstoke Road, Riseley, Reading, Berkshire RG7 1QD. Tel: 0118 9884564


Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Food & Drink

Yesterday, 16:28
Very proud bakers Rosemary Gale, Richard and Penny Dmoch, Claire Gates and Tracey Marshall with Liz Wilson

Absolute fun, and you get to enjoy the results of your efforts: Maureen McLean heads to Holyport for a bread making class

Read more
Yesterday, 12:43
The pigs love to forage in the surrounding fields

Filling the gap: Sandra Smith meets a couple producing deliciously flavoured pork from local rare breeds at their Merry Pig farm

Read more
Tue, 16:39
We'll be using the plastic bag charge as an excuse to buy one of these beautiful shoppers!

As England becomes the final country in the UK to pay for plastic bags, we select our pick of the canvas shopper options worth toting

Read more
Thursday, September 24, 2015

If you are looking for a recipe to enjoy for National Cake Week (5-11 October), this recipe from Doves Farm is the perfect teatime treat

Read more
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Downton Abbey aka Highclere Castle © Dutourdumonde Photography /

If The Great British Bake Off was taking place at Downton Abbey and Mrs Patmore was one of the judges she would expect bakers to be able to master these 5 bakes, all of which have featured in the show, and be able to serve them to guests at the Abbey. But would the Mary Berry of the early 20th century be a forgiving judge…?

Read more
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Win beautiful baking products from Great British Life. (Image by Louise White)

Great British Life is offering a fabulous family selection of home baking goodies to one lucky reader

Read more
Friday, September 18, 2015
Getty Images/iStockphoto

As we launch our celebration of the two counties, we invite you to nominate your favourite food and drink businesses

Read more
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Greg Rutherford by Jim Thurston under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence ( via

With The Great British Bake Off returning this month, we took a look back at how some previous Berkshire/Buckinghamshire contestants got on...

Read more
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Hot chocolate tart, lemon curd ice cream and salted caramel popcorn

Crumbly pastry, rich chocolate and zesty lemon - whether a dinner party dessert or a luxurious treat for chocoholics, this tart is a winner!

Read more
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Dark chocolate and cherry scones

Cocoa with dark sour cherries and a hint of sweetness make these scones irresistible and bittersweet to the very last mouthful – a must try for home bakers and scone lovers alike

Read more
Friday, September 4, 2015
Rainbow Cake (Copyright Georgia Glynn Smith)

Not your ordinary rainbow cake, this lemon sponge with fresh fruit decoration is perfect for a children’s birthday party or just to brighten up a rainy day

Read more
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Kate Henry's gluten-free chocolate torte.

Kate Henry from The Great British Bake Off shares a guilt-free dinner party recipe – perfect for chocoholics who want reduce their sugar intake

Read more
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Howard Middleton (Photo by Kirsten Johnson)

Sheffield star of the Great British Bake Off reveals his bad habits in the kitchen, baking tips and life since the BBC cookery show

Read more
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Frances Quinn (Copyright Georgia Glynn Smith)

Former childrenswear designer and Bake Off winner on channelling her creativity to work with food rather than fabric and why she keeps pencils in the kitchen

Read more

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
subscription ad

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Berkshire's trusted business finder

Job Search in Berkshire

Search For a Car In Your Area

Berkshire Property Search