6 of the best places to buy delicious artisan cheese in Northern Ireland

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Northern Ireland boasts a diverse range of dairy excellence, with a growing artisan cheese scene that reflects the country’s commitments to quality and innovation.

From award-winning creations to unique and flavourful varieties, there are local cheese makers and shops dedicated to showcasing the very best cheeses around.

Here are six of the best businesses for you to try across Northern Ireland:

Dart Mountain Cheese – online

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Dart Mountain Cheese has won numerous awards. Picture: Dart Mountain Cheese via Facebook.Dart Mountain Cheese has won numerous awards. Picture: Dart Mountain Cheese via Facebook.
Dart Mountain Cheese has won numerous awards. Picture: Dart Mountain Cheese via Facebook.

Founded by Julie Hickey, a chef and restaurant owner, Dart Mountain Cheese is part of Tamnagh Foods and has been in operation since 2010 from Claudy, Co Derry / Londonderry.

Boasting over 18 years in the food industry, Julie quickly found herself developing a strong interest in cheese, with this passion spurring her on to attend a number of cheese production courses in the UK and Ireland before crafting Tamnagh Foods’ first cheese, Sperrin Blue, in 2014.

Since their launch, Tamnagh Foods have won a number of awards for their cheeses, including a bronze medal at the World Cheese Award in November 2014.

For more information, go to tamnaghfoods.com

Mike's Fancy Cheese are dedicated to the creation of a new tradition of raw milk cheesemaking in Northern Ireland. Picture: Mike’s Fancy Cheese via Facebook.Mike's Fancy Cheese are dedicated to the creation of a new tradition of raw milk cheesemaking in Northern Ireland. Picture: Mike’s Fancy Cheese via Facebook.
Mike's Fancy Cheese are dedicated to the creation of a new tradition of raw milk cheesemaking in Northern Ireland. Picture: Mike’s Fancy Cheese via Facebook.

Mike’s Fancy Cheese, 41 Little Donegall Street, Belfast

With over 50 cheeses to choose from, as well as a wide variety of accompaniments, Mike’s Fancy Cheese consists of a small team of three - Mike, Jonathan and Emily - who are dedicated to the creation of a new tradition of raw milk cheesemaking in Northern Ireland.

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One of their more popular options to choose from is Young Buck, a perfected recipe that has taken seven years to craft, a cheese aged for a minimum of 12 weeks in Newtownards.

For more information, go to mfcheese.com

McCartney’s of Moira, 52-62 Main Street, Moira

Home to over 80 types of artisan cheeses, it’s no surprise McCartney’s of Moira is a favourite shop for many.

Amongst more traditional flavours, this award winning butchery and delicatessen boasts a wide range of unusual cheeses, including Sticky Toffee Cheddar, Black Charcoal Cheddar and Honey Bee Goats Cheese to name a few.

As the Christmas season rolls around each year, McCartney’s of Moira sees their scope of cheese increase to over 100 different varieties that customers can pick from.

For more information, go to mccartneysofmoira.com

Ballylisk of Armagh – online store and multiple stockists

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Founded in 2012 by Dean and Nigel Wright, Ballylisk of Armagh came to fruition out of a passion for quality cheese and a desire to showcase Northern Ireland dairy.

Known especially for their rich and creamy triple cream cheese, Ballylisk of Armagh utilises local quality ingredients through handcrafting small batches of cheese using traditional methods, ensuring each cheese is high in quality, texture and flavour.

The Wright brothers come from a long line of dairy farmers, using their expertise to produce what is now regarded as some of the best cheese across the UK, which is evident through the multiple awards won by the pair, including Best Soft Cheese at the British Cheese Awards in both 2018 and 2021.

For more information, go to facebook.com/BallyliskofArmagh

Tom & Ollie NI – online store and multiple stockists

Founded by Seamus Mullan, Hugh Cushnan and Fergal McGrainne, Tom & Ollie NI is the cultivation of over 15 years experience in the sourcing, production and supply of foods.

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Dedicated to ensuring the continuity of fresh locally produced Irish and European Mezze products, Tom & Ollie NI has over 170 different cheeses to choose from.

Specialising in the finest tapenades, pesto and seasonal hampers, the trio offer over 300 various products throughout the year.

For more information, go to tomandollie.com

Velocheese, Lisnabreeny Road, Belfast

Founded by Davida Tani, Velocheese is an amalgamation of inspiration from Italian cheese and the high quality agricultural producers in Northern Ireland.

Dedicated to providing the freshest of Italian style cheese, Velocheese currently offers Mozzarella, Stracciatella, Scamorza and Maple Wood Smoked Scamorza, with the small stockist winning New Cheesemaker of the Year in 2023 as well as being a medallist in 2022.

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With his Italian background Davida remains committed to providing the freshest cheeses on the market, handcrafting bespoke cheese in Belfast with the aim of bringing a taste of Italy to Northern Ireland.

For more information, go to velocheese.co.uk

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