Young Buck Cheese - Special Irish Foods & The People Who Make Them

Young Buck CheeseGeorgina Campbell

If you haven’t come across a ‘Stitchelton’ before, the Northern Irish cheesemaker Mike Thomson of Newtownards, Co Down, would be happy to perform the introduction.

His recently launched Young Buck is a new blue cheese in the Stilton style - a category that has been dubbed ‘Stitchelton’ by makers of similar cheeses outside the designated Stilton area, who are not allowed to use the venerable blue cheese’s protected name and have adopted a much older version of it instead (which reputedly dates back to a reference in the 11th century Domesday Book).

Mike Thomson, who trades under the name Mike’s Fancy Cheeses (;, uses the unpasteurised milk from a single herd of Co Down Holstein-Friesian cows to make his cheese, which has quite a salty Stilton-like flavour and the characteristic knobbly crust; the blue-veined paste is smooth and creamy at the centre, with a chalkier, slightly crumbly texture towards the edges.

Young Buck Cheese with Ditty OatcakesAs the region’s first raw milk blue cheese it is likely to gain plenty of attention, and news appears to have spread quickly as - although it was only launched this spring - we found it by chance in rural north Yorkshire over Easter, at The Courtyard Dairy (; World Cheese Awards 2013 Cheesemonger of the Year). Owners Andy and Kathy Swinscoe refer to it as ‘an impressive debut cheese’ and they sell online as well as from their small but impressive shop.

In Ireland, Sheridans Cheesemongers ( have welcomed Young Buck (“there are too few Irish blues,” comments Kevin Sheridan) and stock it in their Galway, Meath and Dublin shops.

While not a carbon copy of Stilton, Young Buck is a pleasing cheese. Like other blues, it works very well in a salad with pears and walnuts, and it teams agreeably with a fruity accompaniment such as Sheridans Fig Compote or a slice of quince cheese (aka ‘quince paste’). Well worth trying.

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