‘I could be a vegetarian, but I could never give up cheese!’
This is a sentence I hear a lot when I talk about veganism. As a semi-vegan, my diet is not completely animal product – free. However, I do try and avoid animal products wherever possible. Three of the biggest products to avoid are obviously, cheese, milk and eggs.
On the whole, avoiding eggs is pretty easy; I just don’t buy them. And if I’m out, I will avoid ordering egg-based dishes. Avoiding dairy milk is even easier. With so many plant-based alternatives out there, from rice, oat and hemp to soya, almond, coconut and cashew, most big supermarkets are awash with choice; even small corner shops have started to stock soya milk.
With cheese, I think it’s a little bit harder. Whilst places like Whole Foods, Holland and Barrett and the bigger supermarkets stock vegan cheese, it’s not something that’s readily available in most supermarkets, although it’s getting a lot better. Some of the cheese-replacements that I have tried in the past have been quite pungent, powdery and not very appetizing. I also think it’s hard to replicate the texture of cheese, and only now are we starting to see a range of vegan cheeses that are starting to rival their dairy counterparts in terms of texture and flavour. So maybe that sentence seems justified, but I beg to differ!
In this blog post I’d like to review 3 vegan cheese products that I bought the other day; 2 of them are pretty new, and one is a firm favourite. So read on, if you think ‘I could never give up cheese’ or even if you’re just a bit curious to see what replacements are out there……
Violife original block, koko dairy free cream cheese, koko dairy free cheddar
1. Violife (block): original flavour
This is one of my go-to brands. I like the cream cheese and the blocks (which come in different flavours to replicate different cheese types – blue, halloumi, mozzarella and cheddar to name a few). The original block has a mild, smooth taste and a slightly rubbery texture. Among other ingredients, it contains olive extract and coconut oil, as well as added vitamin B12, which vegans need to ensure they have in their diet. Although it claims to be good for melting, it tends to melt slightly,then harden.
Cost: from £1.90. Most like: Edam. Good sprinkled on pasta, on baked potatoes, with hot dogs or burgers and in sandwiches. Overall rating: 7/10
2. koko Dairy free alternative to soft cream cheese
This is a cream cheese alternative that is new to the market. So far, it comes in just the one flavour. My boyfriend and I used some of this in a home-made stuffed crust pizza, and it just seemed to dry out a little. The texture is a little hard but melts in the mouth and is creamy. It resembles coconut oil a bit more than actual dairy cream cheese. It contains coconut oil, coconut cream, vitamin D2 and B12, among other ingredients. Again, a very mild taste.
Cost: £1.99 for 150g (currently only available in Waitrose). Most like: coconut oil/ bland cream cheese. Good on crackers with some black pepper and salt, sandwiches and wraps. Overall rating: 5/10
The new koko cheese products; cream cheese and cheddar alternatives
3. koko Dairy free alternative to cheddar
This is a new product which I am quite excited about. For me, so far this is one of the closest I have tasted to Cheddar; albeit a mild – medium cheddar. It has a creamy, slightly nutty flavour, and the texture is like real cheese. The coconut flavour comes through, but it’s very mild. Again, on pizza it doesn’t quite melt, but it does grate really well as it’s quite soft. The main ingredients include coconut oil, coconut cream, vitamin D2 and B12, as well as carrot juice concentrate.
Cost: £2.29 for 200g (currently only available in Waitrose). Most like: Medium Cheddar. Good for: pizza, sandwiches, baked potatoes, nachos, mac n’ cheese. Overall rating: 8/10
These are just 3 of the cheese alternatives that I have tried most recently. It’s just great to see so many options out there, and they keep growing. They may be slightly more expensive and not taste quite the same as dairy cheese, but I think they have come a long way in the past couple of years. They can only improve! And hey, they’re completely cruelty-free (the cows and calves will thank you).
What dairy-free cheeses are your favourite? Have you tried any? And if not, maybe this post has piqued your curiosity?
I’ll be back with more cheesiness in a future post,
See you next time!
Disclaimer: I have not been paid in any way by any of the companies or brands mentioned in this post. This is an independent and personal product review, in which the views expressed are my own.