Vegan MoFo Post #15!
I am actually almost caught up on my travels, so this post isn’t specifically location-dependent, but rather a summary of all my vegan artisan cheese sampling across America. Last time I was in the States was in November 2012 and MY GOODNESS has the scene changed with regards to vegan cheese!
First of all, there is a VEGAN CHEESE SHOP in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A whole SHOP dedicated to vegan cheese and that is Dr. Cow. Now, I have been reading about Dr. Cow on the internet for ages, but before you had to order it online and hope for the best. Since it is not so cheap, I was always too scared for that. However, something about seeing all of it in front of me made a difference.
I’ll be honest, right after I bought some Dr. Cow and tried it I was disappointed. I had grand expectations and it didn’t immediately meet them. So I put it in the fridge, waited a few days, then tried it again and it was AMAZING. I have no idea what changed. It fermented to the perfect state in those few days or my taste buds adjusted, I’m not sure, but it became vegan cheese gold in my mouth. It’s still my favorite, after all the ones I’ve tried, but seems only available on the east coast unless you buy online. Worth it, my friends, I am sold.
A vegan cheese plate I made out of Dr. Cow plain vegan cheese (left), the pimento sundried tomato version (right, my favorite) and some tofu veggie cream cheese I got from Bergen Bagels in Brooklyn (more in the NYC & Brooklyn post). A vegan cheese plate that states good at room temperature?! Yes, it’s possible. I am still dreaming about this moment in time during which I ate all this. Alright, another vegan cheese I’ve heard a lot about is Treeline Aged Nut Cheese. here is the packaging. It looks pretty fabulous, this is the Classic Hard Cheese flavor, but this one was a huge disappointment to me. I’ve heard some other bloggers rave about it so maybe mine sat on the shelf too long or I got a bad batch, but it tasted to fall-apart crumbly to me and had a strange aftertaste that I didn’t enjoy. It wasn’t really tangy at all. I really want to believe the best, but I’m hesitant to spend the money on it again now. Have any of you tried Treeline? What did you think? It seems so good on paper and the packaging is really nice and classy, but the taste didn’t do it for me. I hope it was a fluke! I headed to Berkeley, CA to the vegan shop Republic of V. I asked them to advise me in vegan cheese, between Vtopian and Punk Rawk Labs, but the shopkeeper and other person in the shop both told me I need to try the cream cheese above. It’s a fermented cashew cream cheese, smoked flavor and there are shitaki mushrooms involved. It was pretty rad, tasted like cheese, unique flavor. Not my utmost favorite as I like the tangy super fermented stuff more, but quite impressive regardless. Last but not least, Punk Rawk Labs vegan cheeses. I first saw these at The Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis, but at $13 there, I was hesitant. However, every vegan grocery store I checked out told me this one was amazing, so eventually I caved and just bought it for $11 in Denver at Nooch Vegan Market. Holy crap, why did I not try it sooner?! It is definitely my favorite! Tangy and delicious, great on crackers. Even my two non-vegan friends with me tried it and told me if no one told them they would think it was cheese. Approved! Here is the packaging above, these come in cute little silver containers. More packaging, super cute. Now the money shot. This is the plane flavor. It was delicious. Very solid, no slimy feeling, no coconut oil overload. It’s not quite as solid as a hard cheddar or something, but it’s not very soft either.Everyone kept recommending the smoked flavor to me, but I was hesitant as I am more a tangy flavor person than smoked, but I caved and got this and it was amazing. It didn’t taste heavily smoked to me and was crusted in peppercorns. Freaking delicious. Go try some now. I want to try all the other flavors!
Not pictured are Vtopian Artisan Cheeses based in Oregon. I only tried the spicy cheddar flavor after it was recommended to me at Food Fight! in Portland, OR. I liked the flavor, but one of the main ingredients of all of their cheeses is coconut oil, so that texture prevails. I only tried that one flavor though, and their bries look freaking awesome, so I need to give it another go, but unfortunately I haven’t seen any in the shops since I left Denver. I’d say they rank solidly in the middle of all the vegan cheeses I’ve tried. I didn’t try melting it, but I imagine the coconut oil would be great for that and they have a ton of interesting flavors. The coconut oil just didn’t give it the exact texture I’m looking for. The pictures on their website are to die for, however.