While 4 Hot New Gourmet Vegan Cheeses You Should Try isn't the most enticing headline you can imagine, it's big news to the earth-conscious folks at One Green Planet. And while the story, like so many other vegan substitute stories, opens with a reminder that fake cheese is not real cheese, it's encouraging to know that the dairy-free are hopeful that this staple of life has not vanished from their lives forever.
Like the rise of artisanal gluten-free bakers, alternative milk-based cheesemakers like Kite Hill and Follow Your Heart are making nut ricotta and vegan shreds they say are perfect for fondue. They're even supplying wine pairing ideas. Kite Hill's soft ripened almond milk cheese is great with a fruity Chardonnay or champagne, for example.
I have a friend who developed a dairy allergy, like, overnight, who agreed to talk vegan cheese with me on the condition of anonymity since she works for the mozzarella mafia and if they knew she wasn't testing the stuff…
Nah, I'm joshing. But she is an avid, very skilled cook and losing cheese from her repertoire, just…I'm there for her, you know? Ten years ago, we used to slather Camembert on baguette slices. Now I can't eat baguette slices, so that whole part of our friendship is OVER! Anyhoo, she discovered Canada-based Daiya, which, while not on the list of gourmet vegan cheeses, is actually really doing it for her.
"It melts really well. It's great for Mornay sauce for mac and cheese. The mozzarella shreds are good for pizza as long as your oven is really hot, which it should be for pizza regardless. I use the pepper jack in enchiladas all the time," she says.
What is it not good for?
"Spreading on crackers. It's not the best in its raw state — it needs to be melted or otherwise incorporated into something else. I mean, it's not cheese, but I actually think it melts better than a lot of actual cheese, especially sharp cheddar, which is oily and tends to separate. Daiya doesn't, but I don't recommend letting it recongeal after you melt it. It's not forgiving."
She's hopeful, however, that the cheese in her life will be more forgiving and indeed more cheeselike, and in the meantime, Miyoko's Kitchen vegan "Harvest Collection" will only set her back $55 and has varieties like High Sierra Rustic Alpine and Fresh Loire Valley in a Fig Leaf.
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