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


More from Food & Drink

Mon, 14:09

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

Read more
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Hungerford town centre attracts crowds when the festival takes place

Hungerford Food Festival demonstrates the depth of the county’s food and drink sector as local producers show their wares, writes Sue Bromley.

Read more
Friday, April 10, 2015
Looks gorgeous, but it's just a trick with tap water that's always a winner

Bonnie May’s great ideas on hosting your social event of the year and her tips on hidden treasures where you can stage your party

Read more
Friday, April 10, 2015
Pomegreat can be found in Waitrose and many other local supermarkets

Newbury-based Pomegreat has removed all refined sugars from its drinks range, replacing them in its pomegranate juices with a fruit extract that has a low glycaemic index, It is the first juice brand to incorporate a natural active compound that suppresses potentially hazardous blood sugar spikes, a side-effect of consumption of many modern soft drinks.

Read more
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Getty Images/Fuse

Lambing is underway on my farm in the Cotswolds. As any sheep farmer will tell you, long days and sleepless nights in the lambing shed mean it’s one of the busiest and tiring times of the year but it’s also the most rewarding.

Read more
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Yes, if you want the chocolate but something a little different and grown-up, how about these chocolate dipped little Viva strawberries. You can even add them to your 5-a-day!

Read more
Monday, March 16, 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, March 16, 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
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Extra virgin olive oil

Nutritional therapist Naomi Mead separates the fat from the fiction, explaining why not all fats are bad for you

Read more
Monday, March 9, 2015
The Swan Hotel

Enjoy dinner, bed and breakfast for £64 per person

Read more
Monday, March 9, 2015
Enjoy a taste of the high life at Waddesdon Manor, photo: www.flickr.com/photos/jamiedfw

Feast your eyes and then pick the perfect outing for someone who deserves that little extra. Sandra Smith has discovered some excellent ‘tasters’

Read more
Friday, February 27, 2015
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Whether celebrating on March 15 or choosing an outing for a date of her choice, there are some fantastic food options. Sue Bromley’s put a little menu together….

Read more
Friday, February 13, 2015

Famous Buckinghamshire event has gone transatlantic and is now sponsored by Teflon

Read more
Friday, February 13, 2015

This recipe comes from Dr. Oetker, who have joined with Juliet Sear as part of the Even Better Baking Team.

Read more
Food and Drink Directory


Berkshire's trusted business finder
subscription ad

subscription ad