Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Final Frontier

It’s Saturday afternoon, almost 1 PM, and I am still in my pajamas.  Isn’t that what weekends were made for?  It hasn’t been a bad week, not at all, but still, I needed this dose of laziness.

Speaking of laziness, I feel like I have done an awful job finishing up my vegan project!  The guilt dangles over me daily, but friends, I am going to finish this project.  It’s been almost three weeks since the eating part of the project ended.  Overall, I did pretty well with my vegan diet, but dang, the blogging part of the project is becoming the proverbial albatross around my neck.  Let’s do this, shall we?

I decided that no vegan project would be complete without tiptoeing into the world of vegan cheeses.  Before April, I had tasted plenty of other vegan specialty items—non-dairy milks and meats—but I cannot remember trying a vegan cheese, ever.  And I don’t mean a homemade nut cheese (though they are, of course, delicious), but a commercially-made product that is trying to emulate a classic dairy cheese, such as cheddar.  Whenever I’ve eaten in vegetarian restaurants, if I order an item that contains cheese, I always opt for dairy cheese.  Always.

Vegan cheese is the final frontier, at least for me.  It was time to give it an honest chance, so I picked up a package of Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cheddar.  In the interest of honesty, I will tell you that it was okay.

Vegan Cheddar

“Okay,” of course, is not high praise in my book.  I’m sorry, vegan cheese-lovers, you aren’t going to like this, but here goes.  On the plus side, the vegan cheddar had a sharp flavor, similar to a good sharp cheddar.  It was a tad too sharp for my taste, but I could see that a person might grow to enjoy that strong flavor.  The cheese also shredded easily and it did melt.  On the minus side, it was disturbingly oily in texture.  It didn’t taste oily, but it was hard to ignore the oily quality when I was working with it.  When my sister was visiting, I made quesadillas with a mixture of vegan cheddar and dairy cheese.  The flavor of the combined cheeses was great, but oil leaked out of the quesadillas while they cooked, which was not appetizing.

Vegan Cheddar Ingredients

A major plus for this vegan cheddar is that the ingredients list is much shorter and much less scary than some of the other vegan cheeses I considered.  Yes, this product is heavily processed, so we should probably consider it vegan junk food, but the ingredients are recognizable (to me, anyway), and that’s a good thing.

I hate to say it, but I won’t be buying this cheese again.  I just didn’t like it enough.  I love cheese so much that this vegan cheddar actually made me miss real cheddar more.  I’m the kind of cheese-lover who likes to eat cheese sliced straight off the block, with or without bread, pretzels, or fruit.  I love the flavor of dairy cheese.  Fake cheddar didn’t hit the spot for me, but now I can say that I gave it a try.  I should mention that I won’t rule other vegan cheeses out before trying them, but I suspect that the commercial vegan cheeses may always be a hard sell for me…

…especially considering the cashew cheese I came up with just in time to feed to some party guests!  Get your cashews ready, guys, because I’ve got a memorable recipe coming up next time.

Happy weekend, everyone!  


Shannon said...

i feel like they only one i've heard good things about is daiya. haven't used it myself, as I opt for dairy cheese as well... :)

Rosiecat said...

Yes, I've heard good things about Daiya too, and I've seen it on restaurant menus. I don't know if Daiya is sold anywhere around here, but maybe I'll give it a try the next time I can :-)

The pull of dairy cheese is so strong!

Raquelita said...

Yeah. I was vegan for 6 months a few years ago, and I could not do vegan cheese. I would rather just go without than eat that stuff.

Rosiecat said...

I don't blame you, Raquelita! You and I are two peas in a pod on this issue.

(Also, if it interests you at all, I've love to hear more about your six months of veganism, especially why you chose to do go vegan for six months and then why you stopped.)