Vegan MoFo Post #15 – Vegan Artisan Cheese in the US!
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!
Dr. Cow 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.
Treeline Vegan Cheese
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!
Sim Vegan Smoked Cashew Cream Cheese
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.
Punk Rawk Labs Vegan Cheese
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!
Vtopian Artisan Vegan Cheese
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.
There you have it, next post we’re headed to New Orleans! For more check out the Recipe Index, Posts by Location page or follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
This post is just a start, there are soooo many more now! Which vegan cheese is your favorite?!
Defiantly will be trying the Punk Rawk next visit. I liked Dr Cow. Though I must say, so far in my travels I enjoy Vegusto best. I guess the more cheesy vegan makers jump aboard the prices will come down.
I do hope so, so many artisan cheeses are popping up lately!
When I bought Dr. Cow, mine went in the trash 🙁 granted, I did not try letting it ferment for a few more days. But the flavor was really not to my liking. Vtopian and Punk Rawk Labs are next on my list to try, but my absolute favorite is Kite Hill. If you see it anywhere I highly recommend trying the White Alder Soft Ripened flavor. It is a truly a dead ringer for dairy cheese (a softer one anyway, like a brie). Glad you got to try so many different cheezes so far!
Which flavor of Dr Cow did you try at first? My first reaction was “I can’t believe I spent $8” but it wasn’t horrible, haha. I will have to keep an eye out for Kite Hill, haven’t seen it yet!
I wasn’t in love with Dr Cow (I bought it from Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco so it’s definitely available on the west coast) but I would totally eat it again and I will be visiting their cheese shop one day! So amazing that it even exists! I loved the Treeline, mine was definitely tangy though and all of the vegans I fed it to at a cheese and wine party loved it too! I’d really love to get my hands on Punk Rawk labs again, I remember really enjoying it and I last had it a year ago in San Francisco as it wasn’t anywhere to be found in Austin.
I really want to give the Treeline another try now. I’m just afraid to waste another §$11! Which was your favorite flavor of the Treeline so far?
OH man I’ve only had the Treeline out of all of these! Why am I so behind!
I haven’t tried any of these. I feel like I always just end up disappointed and out of cash. I’m really excited for Miyoko’s cheeses to hit the market!
Oh, great round-up! I’ve only tried the creamy scallion cheese from Treeline, not their hard cheeses. I’ve been so excited to try them, and so that’s a bummer that you were underwhelmed! It’s always disappointing when you spend a lot on something, only to have it be a letdown. I really like their scallion cheese, and it’s something I would buy if it was available where I live for an impromptu wine and cheese night. It has a tangy flavor that reminds me of the cashew cheeses I make at home.
I totally agree about the awesomeness of Punk Rawk cheeses. I’ve tried several of the flavors and thought they were all excellent. Sadly, the store that sold them locally stopped selling them, because they weren’t selling well. Sadness!
Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to give the scallion one a try!
You need to try Sunrawise out of Florida! Delicious raw cashew based hard cheeses. The Smoke and Spicy and Black Pepper are my favorite.
Never heard of this one before, thanks for sharing! Sounds delicious!
I’m so jealous, I still can’t believe there’s a vegan cheese shop, I really want to go!