Taste test: vegan cheese

I know none of you will believe me, given the pie tasting and sausage buying, but recently I have re-kindled my interest in vegetarian and vegan cooking and eating. I was vegetarian many a few years ago, but after a while, had these incredible cravings for chicken of all things.  In the end, I gave up. Obviously, at the time I wasn’t getting enough variable protein in my diet, so if I was to eat this way again, I would need to eat differently.  I love fish, and have access to good quality seafood here in New Zealand, so I might find it hard to give that up again.

But…I do need to watch how much dairy I consume, as, like many people, I have a slight intolerance to it.  I have never liked milk (which worried my mother who constantly made milk based puddings), but I do like cheese.  However, I do feel better if I avoid it.  So with this in mind and a desire to try to eat less animal based products, I have been trying some vegan cheeses.

Alternative cheese

Number one on the list is this vegan cheddar. The texture was a bit like processed cheese in a block, and the smell was not that appetising on opening.  First taste test was not promising, but I have had it each morning now on top of peanut butter, and it is fine.

Bread and ‘cheese’

So let’s look at the ingredients, the chief of which is water. The energy comes from fat and carbohydrates, but there is no protein – ‘real’ cheddar has about 25g of protein per 100g (and 33g fat), and, of course, calcium.  I began to wonder why one would eat this – certainly not for the taste, as it isn’t that great, but perhaps for the calcium.  I got used to the texture, and even the taste, though it was quite a large piece for one person to eat in 7 days.

Water and peas

And so to a ‘Gouda Flavour’ dairy free cheese from Green Vie.  I have to say this was much better, both in texture and taste.  It was firm to cut, and almost tasted like real, mild cheese.

Free from everything

As to the ingredients, water is the main one again, but this time coconut oil as the fat instead of sunflower oil.  Goodness knows what ‘vegan flavourings’ are, but good to see the addition of vitamin B12 (an essential additive for vegans).  However, calcium is not listed, and it has a lot more saturated fat from the coconut oil. Again, typically Gouda has about 25g protein and 27g fat per 100g.

Coconut oil and ‘vegan flavourings’

It is made in Greece, which seems an awful long way for a product like this to travel.  It lasts for two weeks at least, which is a bonus.

Verdict? Vegan cheese is not cheese, let’s face it.  I guess the Gouda might fill a craving for cheese, but you would have to remember there is no protein in it when putting together a balanced meal.  I would, however buy it again, even though it is not locally made.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @blof678.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com.



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