Avellana Creamery is unique as they use hazelnuts as the base of their cheese rather than cashews, giving their cheeses a totally different taste. I enjoy some variety out there in the vegan cheese world, so I can totally support that! The hazelnut taste is subtle, but gives the cheeses a distinctly different flavor.
Avellana Creamery is a company founded on preserving the health of the planet and the people who live here. They aim to make delicious vegan cheese products to show consumers that there is a whole world of culinary possibility outside the realm of dairy, and show the world that we can have it all: compassion, health, and delicious artisanal food.
I especially live their focus on sourcing local products as ingredients for their cheeses. They’ve even visited the orchard and met the family that grows all the hazelnuts they use from Aurora, Oregon.
Base: hazelnuts sourced directly from Meridian Hazelnut Orchard in Aurora, Oregon
Consistency: solid but spreadable
Varieties: Italian Herb, Smoked Paprika, Curry, African Berbere Spice, Pesto, Currant, Cinnamon, Hazelnut Parmesan and Hazelnut Flour
Other points: focus on local and fair-trade products as ingredients
This was my favorite of all the cheeses. For once, I actually liked the Avellana Creamery cheeses best on other things than just plain on crackers. It’s hard to describe the subtle flavor the hazelnuts give the cheeses, I’d say it’s this sharp slight sweetness, but the cultures also give it a bit of tang. Whatever the flavor is, it worked out SO WELL on top of a homemade pizza. The flavor blended so perfectly with the sauce, veggies and Tofurky Italian sausage, YUM. We did not bake the cheese at all, just sliced and put on top of the finished product. It got a bit softer and warm and was amazing. It totally outdid the normal cashew ricotta I make for this situation.
This is a new flavor and the first sweet vegan cheese I tried. It was yummy! I didn’t think a sweet cheese would be my thing, but it worked. The hazelnuts and the currants create a slight sweetness that’s not overpowering. It was good on crackers, but could have imagined it even better on a sweet pizza with apples or pears, drizzled with balsamic. I’d also happily tuck this into a sweet crepe, on top of a toasted English muffin or added with some tempeh in a sandwich.
I personally am not a huge smoked paprika fan, but personal tastes aside I’d say this was a good product. If smoked paprika is your thing, I’m sure you’ll love this. I wasn’t totally sure what to pair this with, so at one point of drunken stupor I weirdly added it with maple cream on top of a toasted English muffin. It was a weird combination, but it sort of worked. I imagine it might all be good stirred into some cheese noodles, on a sandwich or paired with some BBQ things. I also added it to some more pizza, but the Italian Herb is still my favorite for that purpose.
African Berbere Spice
I only wish I had had some Ethiopian food at the time of testing this as I think it would have been all sorts of amazing rad to tuck it into some injera with some Ethiopian veg dishes to make the awesomest wrap ever. Or just the awesomest Ethiopian plate ever. Sadly I only got Teff Love after testing these cheeses! It has a hint of spice to it, making it the spicy one of the bunch. Berbere consists of 12 different spices: Organic Paprika, Sea Salt, Organic Cayenne, Organic Fenugreek, Organic Coriander, Organic Cumin, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Cardamom, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Clove, Organic Ginger, Organic Turmeric.
The hazelnut Parmesan was a yummy addition to this pasta dish here. I wouldn’t say it tastes like parmesan, but it serves the same purpose. It’s not something I use super often, but while I had it around I definitely added a dash to pasta, pizzas, soup, etc.
What Makes Avellana Creamery Different?
All their cheeses are made from hazelnuts, which is different from any other vegan cheese I’ve tried. The hazelnuts give a slightly different subtle flavor than cashews, but it totally works and adds some nice variety to a vegan cheese plate. They also have quite unique flavors like the currant and African Berbere varieties. The fact that they source their nuts within state is also quite unique!
I only wish they had a classic flavored cheese as well without any spices, as sometimes I just want to taste the simple cheese without anything else getting in the way of the flavor. Although the flavors Avellana Creamery chose are yummy, I think just a plain classic flavor would be a nice addition!
Where to Buy
If you’re in Oregon, Local Eugene folks can find Avellana Creamery at Sundance, Capella, Kiva and the OG Corner Market. All four signature cheeses can also be found in Portland, Oregon at Food Fight!
If you’re not in Oregon, head on over to Vegan Essentials to buy some online and try it yourself!
Have you tried Avellana Creamery? What do you think of hazelnut cheese?