An outstanding, new, raw-milk, blue cheese from Northern Ireland. An interesting take on an ancient blue cheese recipe, Young Buck cheese is traditionally made and hand-ladled to produce a rich, lingering flavour. An impressive debut cheese.
The genius behind Young Buck Cheese is Michael Thomson. One of a new generation of cheese-makers, he studied cheese making at the School of Artisan Food (a fellow student of Andy, managing partner of The Courtyard Dairy). Whilst studying, he went on placements at Stichelton and Montgomery’s. After graduation, he joined Sparkenhoe Farm as a cheese maker, responsible for their red Leicester and developing their unpasteurised Battlefield Blue.
However Mike’s ambition was always to return to Northern Ireland to make raw (unpasteurised milk) cheese. Struggling to find funding through standard methods, Mike eventually managed to obtain the necessary capital by using an online ‘crowd-funding’ site, with over 100 investors.
Naming the business ‘Mike’s Fancy Cheese Co.’ (taken from a quote from James Long’s 1896 cheese-making book, describing one man as a producer of ’fancy cheese’), the development of his cheese making facility took place in late 2013. Sourcing milk from a small farm ten miles away (140 milking cattle), Mike daily collects 600 litres of milk, returning to his vat to make 27 Young Bucks a week (compare that with Stichelton, who make around 30 wheels a day, and Colston Bassett, one of the smallest Stilton dairies, at 155 a day).
Young Buck is based on a Stilton-recipe; made with unpasteurised milk, a slow-gentle acidification of the curd, hand-ladling, rubbing up and hastening similar to that of Stilton (to encourage a ruby-red yeast rind). It is then aged for 12-15 weeks before being split and sold by The Courtyard Dairy only at its peak.
When fully mature it is rich, creamy and rounded, like the best Stilton, but with a long-lingering finish and just a touch of Northern Ireland.
This product will have two weeks shelf life from the date of delivery.