Do you have an inquisitive mind? Do you like to give things a go? Well prepare to be inspired by the fascinating story of Village Maid Cheese!

Anne Wigmore, the founder of Village Maid Cheese, originally worked for the ‘National Institute for Research in Dairying’ in Shinfield.  With her well placed background in microbiology, in 1984 she started making different types of cheese at the institute for various projects, arranging tasting panels and travelling around the UK visiting small artisan producers. Fascinated, she was inspired to have a go herself! Wouldn’t you?!

In 1985 wanderlust took hold and Anne left the Institute to travel with Andy and two friends who were desperate to fulfill a lifelong ambition of sailing their hand built yacht back to Australia. After 6 months Anne returned and under the then ‘Government Enterprise Allowance Scheme’ Village Maid Cheese was tentatively formed in a modest garden outbuilding in Spencer’s Wood, near Reading in 1986.

Fond memories of the beautiful cheeses from Sardinia discovered whilst sailing inspired ‘Spenwood’, based on the Pecorino from the Island it’s matured for 9 months and having a lovely nutty flavour, becoming slightly more piquant towards the rind.

In 1991, having outgrown their premises Anne moved operations to Riseley.  Spurred on by Neals Yard Dairy, Anne started work on a new cheese which was soon to become ‘Wigmore’. A semi soft, white rinded ewe’s milk cheese. Still sold today due to its popularity and many medals achieved at the Artisan Cheese Awards & British Cheese Awards.

In 2013 with the help of an EC grant, Riseley was doubled in size, which provided more maturing and packing rooms and of course, increased production.

In 2017, Anne’s son Jake and Fiancee joined the business which has now become a great family affair. Maida Vale was born, washed in ‘Soundwave’, a local IPA from a Brewery a stone’s throw away from the Dairy.

In 2019 it was time for another expansion! New offices, cold rooms and much more were added and at the same time they were approached by Heckfield Park Farm, home to 30 beautiful Guernsey cow’s and 400 acres of diverse beautiful pasture, rich in rye-grass, fescue, red and white clover, chicory, plantain, cocksfoot and Sainfoin used for summer grazing and silage through the winter months.

The Dairy continues to thrive and although much larger than the original outbuilding in Anne’s back garden, it still has a small business ethos with Anne readily on hand to answer any questions at the end of the phone!

You can buy the delicious Spenwood and Wigmore by clicking on the links.

If you would like to know more about any of the cheeses that we sell please get in touch, we’re always here to help.