5 of the Best: Must-Try Vegan CheesesBy Alicia Grimshaw
It’s been a long time coming, but there’s now decent and delicious vegan cheese on the market. Plant-based products including the likes of meat and milk have always been well-received in the plant-powered sphere, but cheese has always lagged behind.
We’ve come a long way from sorry-looking vegan cheese, and dairy-free alternatives that have the melting capabilities of cardboard. Now, you can enjoy a wealth of vegan alternatives that look, taste, and have the texture of the real thing. Grab the crackers – it’s about time you enjoyed some sensational plant-based cheese:
About: Officially opening in 2016, Mouse’s Favourite was years of experimentation in the making. Founder Gabrielle Le Cocq keeps the process as pure as possible – leaving it to the various fermentation cultures and processes to create a subtle variety of flavours rather than by adding extra flavours in.
The Cheese: Mouse’s Favourite capture both the soft texture and delightfully creamy flavour in their organic cheese alternative, looking every inch like a conventional Camembert. The milky white rind wraps around an award-winning taste that won Best Dairy-Free Cheese in the Peta Vegan Food Awards in 2017 – a title that’s worth welcoming to your cheeseboard. This is certainly the Mouse’s Favourite, and it might just be yours too.
About: Bath Culture House was born in 2016, selling bottles of Kombucha to independent health food shop Harvest, Bath. Now, the company produce a range of plant-based products including Kimchi, Sauerkraut, and their well-loved vegan chease.
The Cheese: All of Bath Culture House’s cheases used organic cashews as the base. Handmade in small batches, the Smoked and Chipotle Chilli is a dairy-free soft and naturally fermented smokey chease, dusted with chipotle chilli flakes. The range also includes: Garlic and Herb, Activated Charcoal, Sumac and Cumin, and Tumeric and Black Pepper Almond Chease.
About: Bute Island Foods has been passionate about vegan foods for 30 years. With humble artisan beginnings around a farmhouse kitchen table, in 1988 a Cheddar style soya-based cheese alternative was developed and called Sheese. Since then, Bute Island Foods and its Sheese brand has gone from strength to strength.
The Cheese: Dairy-free cheeses have come a very long way in the last few years and even non-vegans are touting their deliciousness. Certified vegan, the Sheese range melts when hot, crumbles like cheese should and tastes just as good when cold on a cheeseboard. The range features: Cheddar style with Caramelised Onion, Smoked German Style, Red Leicester Style, and Wensleydale style with cranberries, among others.
Price: From £2.30
Where: Holland and Barrett, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s
About: I AM NUT OK is more daring than dairy, using inventive visual and flavour combinations. It’s not meant to replace cheese, but to satisfy the tastebuds in a way any delicious food does. We use a mix of traditional and new techniques to create our plant-based cheeses and which is produced by hand in small batches.
The Cheese: This eye-catching black cheese, highlighted by its gleaming turmeric vein and splash of the golden spice on top, will steal the heart of any truffle lover. The earthy, pungent aroma of black truffle, brought together with an accent of garlic and cheesiness, gives a luxurious flavour that will blow your mind. That’s why it’s called ‘NeroMinded’ – once your taste buds get a hit, it’ll be the only thing on your mind.
About: What happens when you combine a cheese lover with a passion for the planet? You end up with Willicroft. Founder Brad Vanstone, the grandson of a dairy farmer, was inspired to create plant-based cheese alternatives upon converting to veganism. Through his cheese line, he aims to demonstrate that plant-based cheese can be just as decadent as its dairy counterparts.
The Cheese: This is Not Cheese Sauce is the latest addition to Willicroft’s vegan range. Made from coconut oil, cashews, and fermented soybeans, this vegan cheese sauce is ideal for pasta meals, sandwiches and rolls, cauliflower cheese, or as a party dip. And if you’re feeling fancy, don’t miss the This is Not Cream Cheese Jalapeno.
Where: Whole Foods Market and Planet Organic