Commercial vegan cheeses aren’t available in the Lake Atitlan area, so I make my own. On a recent trip to the U.S., however, we decided to try a few commercial vegan cheeses to see how they compare with one another and with the versions I make. This is my vegan cheese comparison: the opinions are completely my own, and your taste buds may disagree!
We headed to the local vegan-friendly food co-op (People’s Food in Ocean Beach). Their vegan cheese selection is pretty small, but it gave us enough of a sampling. We went for the following cheeses:
- Provolone Slices by Follow Your Heart
- Jalapeño Havarti by Daiya
- Chao Tomato Cayenne slices by Field Roast
- Aged English Smoked Farmhouse by Miyoko’s Creamery
I was most excited to try something from Miyoko’s Creamery, and it was by far the biggest splurge of the four: at about $10, it cost almost double any of the others.
All of the cheeses we tried had a pretty good flavor. I love smokey cheeses and strong flavors, but the Aged English Smoked Farmhouse was almost too strong–like someone spilled the bottle of liquid smoke into the mix.
The real difference between the four, however, was the texture. Both the Daiya and the Chao had a stiff texture, and the Chao was a bit crumbly. The real disappointment was the Aged English Smoked Farmhouse; the cashew texture was prominent and it was much softer than I expected. The Follow Your Heart Provolone Slices were the only vegan cheese we tried that had a satisfying cheese-like texture. Of the four, the Provolone Slices won hands-down, and the Aged English Smoke Farmhouse lost hands-down.
In comparison with Our Favorite Smoky Cheese, well, non of the commercial cheeses came close in either flavor or texture. I recently made the smoked Gouda from Chef Skye Michael Conroy’s The Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook, and it is so far superior to any of the commercial cheeses that there really isn’t any comparison. You can order the hardcopy of the book on Amazon, or get the digital version on his Gentle Chef website. Our Favorite Smoky Cheese is quick to make, is softer, and has little added fat. Chef Skye’s Gouda is significantly higher in fat (from coconut oil) and is a bit more time-consuming, but has a fabulous texture and flavor.
If you have the time and inclination to make your own vegan cheese, do it! Making your own cheese is not for everyone. If the commercial variety suits your lifestyle, Follow Your Heart has my vote.
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