Treeline Green Peppercorn

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.

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We love Treeline‘s many cheeses, especially the French-style spreadable cheeses, and so were thrilled to discover a new flavor (to us, anyway) at a local grocery: Green Peppercorn.

This one is indeed, exactly as the package reads, “mild yet subtly tangy” — it’s terrific on crackers but mild enough to put on bagels as a cream-cheese substitute if you like a little bit of flavor.

This vegan cheese has the wonderful consistency all of Treeline’s spreadable cheeses have, and if you like pepper, you’ll love this — the pepper flavor gives it a nice kick. If your local store doesn’t have it yet, check Treeline’s website to learn more. Because you definitely want this in your fridge.

The Cultured Kitchen Cashew Reserve

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 delighted to find this Cashew Reserve spread from The Cultured Kitchen at our local co-op.

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The Cultured Kitchen makes two varieties (the other, Smokey Chedda, sounds amazing), and we sampled Herbs & Chives, which has a mild, delicate flavor. Especially lovely is the hint of lavender.

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The texture isn’t as smooth as some vegan spreads, but this is to be expected with a product as natural as this one. While we spread this lovely vegan cheese on crackers, given its consistency, it’s even better as a dip…and would be a beautiful addition to any holiday gathering.

Treeline Chipotle Serrano Pepper

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.

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We love Treeline‘s French-style cheeses, and while our local co-op only has one variety, we found this Chipotle Serrano Pepper flavor at a California Whole Foods.

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The texture of this variety is ever-so-slightly chalky (probably not noticeable to most), but the spices are fantastic — hot and a little smoky.

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This cheese would pair very well with a light, crispy white wine, a sparkling wine — or any cool drink, for that matter — and due to its heat, it would be even better with veggies than with bread or crackers.

Soledad Cheddar and Cracked Pepper cheeses

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.

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Here are two more cheeses from the Sanctuary at Soledad Goats.

The first is cheddar style, which was not what we expected, since the website’s photo of this cheese is white, not orange, and sliceable, not spreadable.

IMG_1561Yet the flavor of this variety is nicely cheddar, though there is a hint of sweetness, which may not be for those who are looking for something sharper. And unless the cheese has changed a lot since we ordered it, it doesn’t fit the websites description of being great “on a cheese board”; it’s far too soft. But it does work on crackers, as shown below.

IMG_1562The cracked pepper chevre style, however, does fit the website’s description (“a smooth, creamy, spreadable soft vegan cheese”), and is delicious.

IMG_1569The cheese bears no resemblance to its photos (it’s so soft, there’s no way it could be sliced) — but the texture is lovely and the cracked pepper offers a great kick.

IMG_1570This is a wonderful, flavorful cheese that’s perfect for bread and crackers.

IMG_1572Do keep in mind that we were among the first to order Soledad’s cheeses, and we expect that with experience, they are only getting better at what they do. What we like best of all is that a former goat farm is now a sanctuary that rescues animals instead of exploiting them. So Soledad is well worth our support.

Miyoko’s Double Cream Roasted Garlic Peppercorn

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.

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As we’ve advised before, Miyoko’s cheeses are so wonderful and so popular that you have to act quickly if you find one you like. We loved this limited edition Double Cream Roasted Garlic Peppercorn — and are eagerly awaiting its return.

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In the meantime, we’ll tell you all about it. As fans of all of Miyoko’s double-cream cheeses, we couldn’t wait to try this one — and we were not disappointed. This delectable soft cheese is creamy and bursting with flavor.

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We paired this cheese with Trinity Oaks Pinot Noir, which is not only smooth, delicious, and vegan but very affordable. (Which is good when you have this much cheese-tasting to do.)

Keep an eye out for the reappearance of this incredible cheese … and snap it up as soon as you can.

Soledad American and Ricotta

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)

These two vegan cheeses from the Sanctuary at Soledad Goats were not as lovely as the others we sampled.

In fact, these two were the blandest of the bunch. Also, due to the photos on the website, we expected the American Style cheese to be firm and sliceable, not spreadable.

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The American style cheese was fairly flavorless, and the texture a bit oily.

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The ricotta style cheese was also a bit flavorless, but this isn’t a bad thing when it comes to ricotta, since it’s meant for recipes more than spreading on crackers.

IMG_1563And the texture itself was very ricotta-like, so this cheese would be a great ricotta substitute for any plant-based recipe.

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So, while these varieties wouldn’t make our must-have-again list, check out Soledad’s other cheeses, as we’ve had some good ones, and we love supporting the great work they do for animals!

Soledad Truffle Oil, Garlic, and Dill

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)

Of the cheeses we’ve sampled from the Sanctuary at Soledad Goats, this one is my personal favorite.

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This Truffle Oil, Garlic and Dill spread was a bit watery (likely because the cheeses had arrived late and we’d had to freeze them before tasting), but it did freeze quite well and has a light, creamy texture.

IMG_1560This cheese is bursting with dill and truffle oil  … so if you’re a fan of these flavors, you’ll love this variety. It’s and rich and savory enough to be served plain on crackers and crusty bread — and yet it’s light enough to be used as a cream cheese replacement on bagels.

IMG_1559The cheese ordering website still appears to be a work in progress, but if you’re feeling adventurous (and patient), this is a flavor worth sampling. And, best of all, you’ll be able to support the sanctuary’s great work.

Soledad Cheddar-Style Jalapeño

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 ordered a new vegan cheese — from the Sanctuary at Soledad Goats, a nonprofit organization founded by two former goat-cheese makers who became vegan and turned their farm into a sanctuary for not only goats but also cows, horses, sheep, dogs, ducks, and other animals. (Meet some of the sanctuary residents here.)

Eager to support this new sanctuary, we ordered cheeses as soon as they were on offer. Our cheeses arrived a week later than expected (very inconvenient as we were heading out of town), but we were told they freeze beautifully, so that’s what we did. (And, this was the sanctuary’s very first cheese offering, so we hope by now they’ve worked out some of the issues.)

The cheeses perhaps would taste a little different if they hadn’t been frozen, but in the case of Cheddar-Style Jalapeño, it didn’t matter — this cheese is fantastic.

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Spreadable with a slightly grainy texture (possibly from having been frozen), this cheese has a serious kick, so if you like spice, this is an excellent choice.

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This cheese is textured with bits of what we’re guessing are peppers — it’s impossible to tell because every Soledad cheese we purchased has the same list of ingredients (“tree nuts and/or oats, cultures, salt, herbs and spices”). We hope that, as Soledad continues its cheese-making enterprise, the ingredient lists get more specific.

As of this writing, this jalapeño cheese doesn’t appear to be available now, but check back because this one is delicious. Visit the website to learn more about the sanctuary, and stay tuned for reviews of many more cheeses from Soledad, coming soon!

Parmela Creamy Treenut Original

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 finally found Parmela cheeses locally, which is a beautiful thing. (We tasted Parmela’s creamy black pepper a while back, which we’d found in another state.)

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This creamy treenut original is simple but has a nice light, fresh flavor. While it’s not as flavorful as other spreadable cheeses, it’s really lovely and would be especially tasty used on bagels as a replacement for cream cheese.

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And keep an eye out for other Parmela products. Parmela used to make a parmesan-style cheese we loved, though apparently it’s been discontinued, and I haven’t seen anything other than the spreadable cheeses in stores. You can order through Parmela’s website — but the site offers only brief descriptions of the cheeses, with no photos or ingredients lists. And, confusingly, Parmela’s grocery request form lists cheeses that are not on the website at all. But, here’s hoping all this gets sorted out because we’d love to try each and every one of these cheeses.

Kite Hill Brie

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 Kite Hill cheese is called “Artisan Almond Milk Product – Soft Ripened.”

In other words, it’s vegan brie. And it’s delicious.

IMG_1071This soft, creamy, melt-in-your mouth vegan cheese has the tangy, ripened flavor of real brie — as well as the texture. It has a sharp rind and a rich, creamy interior.

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I highly recommend this vegan cheese for any occasion in which a cheese plate is called for…I’ve tried it out on non-vegans who couldn’t believe how tasty it is. And, best of all, it’s cholesterol- and cruelty-free.

Enjoy!