“A taste sensation of wild flowers, burnt caramel, macadamia nuts and roast lamb.”Juliet Harbutt, World Cheese Book
Praise indeed from a renowned cheese expert, and earlier, in 2008, Ann-Marie Dyas, founder of the Fine Cheese Company in Bath, included Wigmore in her top ten cheeses, saying,
“this is a subtle cheese with an unrivalled delicacy of texture and taste. No French ewes’ milk cheese can rival its finesse. Rich and unctuous – a delight”.
Well – that’s quite a drumroll! And it’s not just words – Wigmore wins awards, lots of them – the latest was Gold, for non-cow and non-rind-washed in the British Cheese Awards 2018.
Wigmore is made by Anne and Andy Wigmore at Village Maid cheesery in Risley, Berkshire. Neal’s Yard Dairy in Covent Garden were searching for a semi-soft ewes’ milk cheese, and they encouraged Anne to invent one. Anne had already spent ten years working at the National Institute for Research in Dairying but it still took her a year of experimentation to get the method right.
It’s a bit like a brie, less creamy than, for example, the Oxford Isis. It’s the ewe’s milk cousin of the cows milk, Waterloo, also made by the Wigmores.
It develops a bloomy, natural, white to patchy brownish mauve rind after eight weeks of ripening.
NB: The milk used is treated through thermisation – less intrusive than pasteurisation, but not quite as safe.
What to pair with Wigmore
The Wigmores drink a lightly sweet Muscat de Rivesaltes with their Wigmore – this pairing was recommended by Alan Murchison of L’Ortolan.