Spenwood is a hard, pressed cheese made from unpasteurised ewes' milk. Its pale yellow paste has a smooth, dense texture and sweet, slightly nutty flavour. It is reminiscent of Pecorino.
Taking its name from the Berkshire village from where it originated, Spencer Wood, Spenwood is made by Village Maid Cheese. It is matured for nine months and has a thin, natural rind. Spenwood is excellent grated over a pasta dish or risotto.
- Unpasteurised ewes milk
- Vegetarian rennet
What is special about Spenwood?
After a ten-year career as a microbiologist working at National Institute for Research in Dairying (NIRD), Anne Wigmore turned to cheese making in the 1980s. With her husband Andy, she set up Village Maid Cheese in 1986 in the village of Spencer Wood near Reading, Berkshire. Their cheese making operations quickly outgrew these first premises and in 1991 moved to their current location in nearby Riseley.
When creating Spenwood, Anne took inspiration from Pecorino Sardo, which she discovered on the island of Sardinia during a sabbatical spent sailing to Australia in 1985. Similar to Pecorino, salt is added to Spenwood via brining the cheese after it has been pressed, rather than adding salt to the curds earlier in the make.
Spenwood is typically matured for six months during which time it develops its subtle nutty and sometimes caramel flavour. With further aging Spenwood becomes drier and denser in texture and its flavour concentrates, becoming more piquant.
The ewes’ milk used to make Spenwood is bought in from three local herds of Dorset Friesland sheep. This breed of medium-sized sheep is the most common used for sheep dairying in Britain owing to their high milk yields.
Spenwood won "Super Gold" at the World Cheese Awards 2017.
The Wigmores make a range of four award-winning artisan cheeses: Spenwood, Wigmore, Waterloo and Maida Vale. The last of these was launched in November 2017 and has been developed by the next generation of the family's cheese-makers, Anne and Andy's son, Jake. It is a washed rind cheese made from unpasteurised Guernsey cows milk and a local craft beer called "Treason" from Uprising Brewery.