Miyoko’s Napa Valley in a Brandy-Cured Grape Leaf

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

When we saw that Miyoko’s Kitchen was offering a Limited Edition cheese, in a brandy-cured leaf no less, we couldn’t resist.

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The Napa Valley in a Brandy-Cured Grape Leaf is, like so many Miyoko’s cheeses, a thing of beauty.

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This cheese soaked in a bit of the brandy it was wrapped in and has a hint of flavor and sweetness, and it otherwise has a lovely nutty, slightly smoky flavor.

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This soft, creamy cheese is rich and indulgent — and we highly recommend trying it while it’s available. It’s perfect for early summer feast with fresh bread or crackers.

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Heidi Ho “Ne Chèvre”

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

We recently found the Heidi Ho brand of artisan cheeses and were delighted to give them a try. We sampled two different kinds of “Ne Chèvre” — Pure, and Black Lava.

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The Pure version was bland and flavorless. The texture was not perfectly smooth — which is not unlike my memory of goat cheese, though it’s been a while — but this made the cheese a bit less appetizing.

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Much tastier was the Black Lava version, which had a layer of crushed hazelnut and black salt about halfway through.

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Stirred throughout the cheese, this layer greatly enhanced the flavor, giving it a lovely nutty flavor. This cheese was also much richer than the plain “Ne Chèvre.”

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We’re not sure we’d go out of our way for either of these cheeses again, but Heidi Ho seems better known for its Chia Cheezes, which we’re eager to try; these come in creamy, spicy, and smoky flavors and look both delicious and versatile. Stay tuned!

In Los Angeles? Check out Vromage…

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

Los Angeles is a bit of a vegan heaven, and now for one more reason: Vromage.

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This all-vegan-cheese shop is now open in West Hollywood. Here’s a glimpse at the menu:

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And you don’t need to be in L.A. to enjoy Vromage…visit the online store to shop for such items as Veganzola, Feta Herb, Asiago, Brie, Pepperjack, and Truffle Cream.

We will be reviewing these vegan delicacies as soon as we can get our hands on them…

Vtopian Sharp Cheddar

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

We were glad to have the opportunity to try another Vtopian cheese — sharp cheddar.

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Like the other Vtopian cheeses we’ve tried, this one tasted more sweet than sharp (as with the caramelized onion camembert, this one contains soy-based yogurt). As Dana pointed out, “That’s what you get cheese for, the kick.”

Yet despite not being as sharp as we’d expected, this cheese still had a wonderfully cheesy texture.

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We paired this wine, by the way, with Trinity Oaks Pinot Noir, one of our favorite vegan reds.

Miyoko’s Herbes de Provence

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

This week’s tasting was Miyoko’s Country Style Herbes de Provence, a departure from the double cream cheeses we are so addicted to from Miyoko’s.

herbesLike everything shipped from Miyoko’s, this wheel came beautifully packaged.

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This cheese is covered with herbs (on the website, lovely purple specks of lavender are visible, though not on the cheese we received). Still, it’s no less appetizing — and the lavender flavor came through in every bite.

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This is a firmer cheese, very easily sliced — and if set out for a while, it’s highly spreadable. The bursts of flavors from the herbs (among them, lavender, rosemary, and thyme) blend well with the mellow, creamy texture and flavor of the cheese.

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This is another amazing cheese from Miyoko’s — we have yet to try one that it’s very near perfection. Enjoy!

AND — as if you need a reason to order Miyoko’s online — the company is now donating 1 percent of all online sales to nonprofits — for the month of may, the nonprofit is Friends of Animals. Learn more here.

Vtopian Caramelized Onion Camembert

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

Today we present Vtopian‘s Caramelized Onion Camembert.

caramelized onionThis cheese wedge, thanks to its caramelized onion topping, is quite sweet and would make a great dessert cheese.

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In general, we noticed that Vtopian cheeses have a longer list of ingredients than either Treeline or Mikoyo’s (which generally have under ten ingredients), and the sweetness in this wedge seems to come from the soy-based yogurt. Despite the sweetness of this cheese, the total sugar is less than 1 gram per 1-ounce serving. And the major ingredients of Vtopian cheeses are organic.

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We had a lovely vegan-friendly wine — Guenoc Victorian Claret — which, thanks to its complexity and spice, made a great pairing with this sweetish cheese.

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