6 ISSUES FOR £6 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

0 comments

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Food & Drink

Monday, June 22, 2015
The Red Lion at Knotty Green near Beaconsfield

Here are some of our favourite Buckinghamshire country pubs to complete the perfect day out

Read more
Monday, June 22, 2015
The Plough at Eastbury in West Berkshire

It’s wonderful that so many of us have pretty pubs on our doorstep – or at least within walking distance – and here are some of our favourites to complete the perfect day out

Read more
Friday, June 19, 2015
Serving little desserts in shot glasses always goes down well

Food guru Bonnie May takes the pain and strain out of entertaining at home with great ideas for a fun Sunday Brunch that will get guests talking

Read more
Monday, June 15, 2015
Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s been a real privilege to be involved in the BBC Food and Farming Awards this year. Once again the UK’s finest farmers, food producers, cooks, shopkeepers, food vendors and campaigners came together to honour the best in their respective businesses. I’ll talk more about the awards themselves next month but this time it’s the backdrop to the ceremony I want to concentrate on.

Read more
Monday, June 8, 2015

Whether you’re looking for fine dining, pub food, a romantic meal for 2 or a taste of something from further afield, eating out in Berkshire really has something for everyone. Here’s our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Monday, June 8, 2015

Whether you’re looking for fine dining, pub food, a romantic meal for 2 or a taste of something from further afield, eating out in Buckinghamshire really has something for everyone. Here’s our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Monday, June 8, 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, June 3, 2015
The Tap: it's hard to resist the delights here

A visit to The Chequers gives editor Jan Raycroft a few flashbacks and an entertaining encounter with a ‘celebrity chef’. Photos: Maureen McLean

Read more
Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines is rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and a good source of lean protein. This tangy, quick and easy starter or light nibble will make sure you get the benefit.

Read more
Monday, June 1, 2015
Enjoy this view from the restaurant at Boulters Lock, photo Timo Newton-Syms, www.flickr.com/photos/timo_w2s

Dining with the girls? Katy Eachus isn’t one to shy away from an invitation to a menu of delicious food, the odd glass and some gossip, so offers these recommendations

Read more
Monday, June 1, 2015
Ready to serve you, photo: Louise Bellaers

Newbury town centre has a new-look watering spot, so Sue Bromley just had to visit to test it out for you (that’s her story)

Read more

Sponsored:The Boatman

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The Boatman

The Boatman opens its doors as Windsor’s only proper pub on the river after a complete refurbishment and rebrand, bringing a fresh and relaxed atmosphere to the area...

Read more
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
A view of the Clubhouse from the side of the lake at The Stoke Park Club.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Stoke Park’s fine dining restaurant, Humphry’s, serves modern British cuisine with a twist and has been awarded three rosettes by the AA

Read more
Monday, May 11, 2015
Getty Images/iStockphoto

When you need to eat out with everyone from the toddlers to great-grandparents, finding the right pub for lunch or dinner will make everyone’s day

Read more

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP


Food and Drink Directory
subscription ad

subscription ad
Berkshire's trusted business finder