If you’re following a vegan or plant-based diet but hankering for some cheese, you may not need to skip it. Cheese alternatives made with nuts, nutritional yeast and vegetable oils are popping up thanks to great food technologists, a good sprinkling of human ingenuity and the growing popularity of vegan diets. So what exactly is vegan cheese?
Vegan cheese-makers are as divided as dairy cheese-makers in their approach and methods. Whilst the initial focus of vegan cheese makers was to get as close to traditional cheese as possible, many have since come to realize that the proteins and bacteria in nuts and oils can result in creations that need not have traditional cheeses as the comparative ballpark. Many non-vegan lovers of vegan cheese will comment that they eat it because it’s delicious, not necessarily to replace cheese.
Vegan cheese is created using a process that shares some similar steps with traditional cheese-making – of course without the animal milk. Plant proteins are separated using bacteria and ingredients such as oils and thickeners are added to help create the desired cheese-like consistency. Just like for traditional cheese – aging is an important part of the process, time is needed for the protein and bacteria to break down and for the chosen spices, herbs, seeds, and fruits to blend their flavours into the mixture.
We are pleased to have some great vegan cheese makers at Bali Direct Store. Mindful Muncheese & Meats has a great range of nutritionally rich, filler and additive free basics such as parmesan, mozzarella and feta. Tree Nut Cheezery, based in Ubud, specialize in dairy free cheese and use only locally grown nuts and high quality ingredients. They are both super creative and ambitious – creating vegan gorgonzolas (from little more than vegan cultures, nuts and salt! Genius!). We have a few brands of parmesan in the store, which with their sour nut like flavor are perfect not only on pasta but in salads too! We have Cook & Baker with their vegan thyme covered feta and Jiva with their yummy vegan cream cheeses. Check it out!
Click HERE to see our wide range of vegan cheese from the best local artisanal.