When I dropped off some membrillo I’d made at one of Wildes Cheese market stalls three years ago it hadn’t crossed my mind that this would mark the start of a new business. It really was their enthusiastic response which got me excited about the possibilities and started on experimenting with recipes. Things have moved on a lot from the days when they were my only customer, but I am very pleased that this fellow Tottenham foodie business still sells my membrillo with their delicious cheese.
Nowadays the ‘Urban Cheesemaker’ tends to buy a few blocks from me as and when they need and include a slice in each of their cheese hampers. However they are definitely not beyond surprising me – when I got a text from Philip three weeks ago asking if I could supply 25kg of membrillo I wondered if there was meant to be a decimal point in there somewhere. No, 25kg it was, “probably more”. What??! Er, well, yes! When do you need it by, again?
Wildes had been working on a new project for Easter with food blogger Annem Hobson (So Wrong it’s Nom). Annem is clearly a big cheese fan and, as the developer of a cheese advent calendar, has good experience of getting it into the places you might expect to be filled with chocolate. In a smart move she also trademarked the word “Cheester”. She approached Philip and Keith of Wildes to make a solid cheese Easter egg and, after some experimenting, they managed to produce an egg-shape using their highly popular Napier cheese. The Cheester Egg was born!
Although I knew this was happening, what I wasn’t expecting (and I think fair to say they weren’t either) was an absolute explosion of interest in the eggs. The story was picked up by the Telegraph, the Evening Standard, The Sun, The Daily Mail, Stylist magazine, ITV’s ‘This Morning’ programme, Cosmopolitan, Lad magazine…. the list goes on and on. There was a piece on Fox News. The dairy was thrust into overdrive.
And to every Cheester Egg hamper some membrillo. They were right, the order did go up – in the end they took 32kg. And then I (and quite possibly everyone else involved) went to lie down for a week.