For a couple of cheese-eaters, we were impressed.
Of all the vegan/vegetarian substitution foods out there, cheese may be one of the most difficult to accurately reproduce. There's just something about the way milk proteins come together when you age them that is hard to reproduce with any other substance.
So for this week's taste test, Jaime Ritter and I sampled four different kinds of vegan cheeses, to see how they stacked up, in terms of taste, smell, mouthfeel, and overall yumminess.
I have to admit, as an inveterate omnivore, I happen to love cheese a lot (it's basically second only to olives on my favorite-foods list), so I have pretty high standards when it comes to the stuff.
But I also have friends and family members who are vegan or lactose/dairy intolerant, and I still like to enjoy snack plates and dinner parties with them! So as Jaime and I went through this taste test, I, personally, was hoping to find some things that were not only tasty, but that I could proudly serve alongside my prized goudas and chevres, or grill between a couple slices of sourdough, when guests come over to visit.
And, luckily, we found a couple that were pretty good! Jaime's favorite was the Follow Your Heart brand Smoked Gouda-Style Slices which she described as buttery, cheesy, and tasting pretty "good-a." #sorrynotsorry. She noted that you could serve it alongside other cheeses, and that it would be pretty hard to know that it was vegan.
Though the taste was right there, unfortunately, the fact that the main ingredient is coconut oil, meant that it has a pretty staggering amount of heart-unhealthy saturated fat. (It's why we're not big fans of coconut oil, here.)
I, personally, liked Miyoko's Aged English Smoked Farmhouse Vegan Cheese Wheel. I'll admit that on first taste, I found it a little... unusual. The product is very smoky, but it also has a strongly tart, almost lemony taste to it—which is distinctly uncheesy. But, stay with me for a moment, because the flavors, while not necessarily cheese-like, are actually quite good together. And I could see it as both delicious on a cracker, or going great on a sandwich with tomato and arugula.
It doesn't hurt that Miyoko's vegan cheese is also much healthier, with only 1g of sat fat per 1 oz serving, so I can feel good about eating it as well!
Watch the video for the full story, and if you like it, be sure to check us out on YouTube or Facebook, and leave a comment (tell us what we should try next!) We'll be doing more taste tests each week.