I had tried a nacho cheese block from Vtopian during my American Vegan Roadtrip and it was okay, but way too coconut oil textured for me. Since then Vtopian have exploaded with tons more varieties and some really high quality stuff so I decided to get in touch with them. They agreed to send me some cheeses to try and they arrived nice and cold with this cute personal note above!
We had a lot of fun with this and made a giant cheeze plate with my friend and her sister. My friend is allergic to cow’s milk and her sister is vegetarian so it was a good tasting group! It was actually so much cheeze we couldn’t finish it all and I left a bit behind at my friend’s! Since the tasting Vtopian Artisan Cheeses even has a brick and morter vegan cheese shop and deli in Portland, OR that I am so, so jealous of. Just means I gotta visit Portland again!
Base: cheddars and bries are cashew based and the Borealis and Surrise spreads are cashew and soy based
Consistency: sliceable, but spreadable depending on variety
Varieties: Aged White Cheddar, Spicy White Cheddar, Macadamia & Cashew Camembert (wedge), Caramelized Onion Camembert (wedge), Chive & Dill (wedge), Reserve Sharp Cheddar (wedge), Cranberry Brie, Raspberry Brie, Sundried Tomato Brie, Peppercorn Brie, Dark Chocolate Strawberry Brie, Mapled Seitan Cheese Ball, Mediterranean Feta, Roasted Red Pepper Surrise, Creamy Basil Borealis
Other points: handmade in Eugene, Oregon; ALL major ingredients (i.e. cashews, oils, herbs, spices, fruits, and tofu) are ALWAYS organic; cheddars, bries, and Borealis spread contain probiotic cultures; all cheddars and bries are gluten free; all cheddars and bries are soy free except for the Spicy White Cheddar (a small amount in spice) and Dark Chocolate Strawberry Brie (a small amount in chocolate)
Sweet, tasted chocolate first but mixes well with the salty creaminess of the cheese. Grew on me as I ate it, jam really brings it together. I don’t remember this tasting like brie because I used to not like brie, but it ended up being one of my absolute favorites and the first one I finished. I love the different textures from the creamy cheese, jam and chocolate with freeze dried strawberries on top. I’m not usually a sweet cheeze person, but this totally worked without being super sweet!
Macadamia & Cashew Camembert
I remember liking camembert quite a lot and this even passed a non-vegan friend’s taste test who said it tastes just like its namesake! All three of us testers described the texture as “fluffier” than the others, but this was a super good thing! It was properly salty, would use for a gourmet sandwich as well. We thought this had the absolute best texture out of all of them and the flavor only got better and better as it ripened.
This had a light roasted garlic taste, salty with a little kick. You could definitely taste the garlic, but it wasn’t overbearing and definitely a less garlicky note than the black garlic variety below. My two friend-testers liked this one the best. I thought it was good, but not especially exciting. It didn’t taste like I remembered cheddar. I’d say this was the most basic normal flavor of the bunch, so if you’re feeding it to someone whose afraid of anything too different this might be a good one to start with. I also think this and the sharp cheddar would be the best for cooking, adding to mac-n-cheese, etc.
I hadn’t ever really heard of black garlic before, so this was an interesting one! At first hint the color wasn’t the most appealing, but it was also equally intriguing to me. There was definitely a bite from the garlic, but also a hint of sweetness and a balsamic note to it all. I think it would definitely be an interesting addition to a vegan cheese plate, but maybe not one for every day (at least not my every day).
At first taste all three of us didn’t really feel like this lived up to its name at all, but it wasn’t bad. It was the most mild flavor out of all of them and I found it more sweet than sharp. We all thought it tasted the furthest from its non-vegan equivalent name compared to the others. You can’t really tell from the picture, but it was also a bit too yellow in color, it needs to be a bit more orange if it’s trying to mimic that orange cheddar color. I threw some in a mac and cheese and it was tasty.
I left a hunk of this at my friend’s when I traveled to my next location though and she reported back to me a week or so later with this development:
“So, the vegan cheese got better after you left. It got tangy, so I don’t think it was ready. I actually ate all the cheddar the other night and it was like the cheese in the middle of the mini ritz and cheese crackers. When it got tangier, it also got saltier…”
That said, ripening these cheeses is really a thing! I’ve noticed over and over again that with many of the vegan cheeses I didn’t love at first taste and threw into the fridge and forgot about, came out a week later way more interesting and delicious, so try it!
Caramelized Onion Camembert
You can’t really see the onions in this picture, but they were deliciously caramelized on the rind! This was another one of our favorites, a bit sweeter than the macadamia & cashew camembert and a slightly different texture (less “fluffy”). I’m a big caramelized onion fan so I’d definitely get this one again. If I remember correctly one of the ingredients was also sauerkraut and I love sauerkraut! It didn’t taste like sauerkraut of course, but added a hint of tang to it.
What Makes Vtopian Cheeses Different…
That Strawberry Brie, man. And the Macademia & Cashew Camembert! No really, they have lots of flavors the other vegan cheese companies don’t have (Caramelized Onion, anyone?!). Their cheese blocks are also bigger than a lot of the others. Their cheeses are especially gorgeous for a vegan cheese plate! I really want to try all their other bries, especially the Peppercorn Brie!
Where to Buy
If you’re lucky enough to live near Portland, OR you can go straight to their Vegan Cheese Shop & Deli!
For those not so lucky you can either order from their website (just not during the hottest summer months for shipping reasons), or from Vegan Essentials, where you can even score their Mapled Seitan Cheese Ball!