Kite Hill Cream Cheese – Plain

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 tried the Kite Hill plain after we sampled the chive — and expected this flavor to be less exciting than its chive version. But while it’s not chivey, it is no less delicious.

kite-hill-plainAmong three tasters of a good many vegan cream cheeses over the years, this is the hands-on favorite. This almond-milk-based cheese is perfect for those who want a simple and very good, very authentic vegan cream cheese.

plainIt would likely be great in recipes, but unlike other vegan cream cheeses, it doesn’t have a too-sweet or artificial flavor. It is just plain delicious.

Kite Hill Cream Cheese – Chive

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 is my new favorite cream cheese. I used to be addicted to Daiya’s chive & onion cream cheese for bagels, but now it’s this Kite Hill variety. I haven’t looked back.

img_5770This Kite Hill cream cheese is perfect … light, fluffy, creamy, with a wonderful flavor if you like the chives. It’s delicious and flavorful enough to use on crackers, veggies, and crusty bread.

kite-hillOf all the cream cheeses we’ve reviewed, Kite Hill stands so far above the rest. No longer will we ever have to say “it’s pretty good for a vegan cream cheese” — this is just delicious, period. (Stay tuned for our review of the plain version!)

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.

Parmela Aged Cheddar Shreds & Mozzarella

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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With a local grocer stocking these new cheeses from Parmela, a pizza party was clearly in order.

First, a few words about Parmela Creamery’s aged nut cheese — these cheddar shreds were delicious to eat out of the bag (which is not even close to true of most vegan shreds, most of which are waxy and/or taste very artificial). But these aged cheddar shreds, which are cashew-based, are flavorful and have a smooth, creamy texture.

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We also tried Parmela’s aged mozzarella, which comes in a cube ready for either slicing or shredding.

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This mozzarella is good enough to eat plain, on bread or crackers — it is mild and has a nice authentic texture.

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And both cheeses melt beautifully and taste wonderful on pizza (especially with mushrooms, tomatoes, and Field Roast sausage). They’d likely be delicious in any recipe calling for cheddar or mozzarella.

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Visit Parmela online for more info on their offerings (and then contact your local stores to get them to carry this stuff).

Trader Joe’s Vegan Cream Cheese

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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Cream cheese is one of those foods that is really hard to replicate, and I finally found a cream cheese I like in Daiya’s Chive & Onion. Then I heard that Trader Joe’s has a vegan cream cheese.

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This TJ’s version was recommended by a friend who doesn’t like Daiya and hadn’t found a palatable cream cheese until this one. So, I was very eager to try it.

IMG_7437The texture is quite good — softer than you might expect of “real” cream cheese — and the flavor is wonderful: very creamy, with none of the tang that Daiya has (which made the plain style too sweet for me). So this is a much mellower, milder cream cheese.

IMG_7442Because the texture isn’t as smooth, I made my bagel with half Daiya and half Trader Joe’s — and while I like the smoother and thicker Daiya texture more, I prefer the Trader Joe’s flavor. So…I will probably continue to enjoy both (though maybe not half and half every time).

Whatever your vegan cream cheese preference is at the moment, it’s well worth checking out the Trader Joe’s version — it’s among the best around!

Follow Your Heart Parmesan

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 have one word for this new vegan Parmesan from Follow Your Heart: Finally.

IMG_9921Another that comes to mind is: Yum.

This shredded Parmesan is different from any other vegan Parmesan we’ve seen (usually sprinkled varieties made of nutritional yeast and nuts). While many of these are quite flavorful, nothing can really come close to the shredded variety.

IMG_9923These shreds are wonderful — creamy and flavorful, though we do wish the taste were a bit sharper and more tangy. But the flavor is lovely enough to sprinkle directly on any pasta dish.

IMG_9924We chose to sample it in liberal quantities when we tried it on homemade pesto, and it was delicious. Again, it would be even better with a sharper flavor — but we are thrilled to have it.

IMG_9929We suspect it would be amazing in any recipe — as well as on garlic bread and sprinkled on popcorn — and look forward to trying it out in different scenarios.

Daiya Margherita Pizza

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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When we saw this in the freezer section, we couldn’t resist. Every once in a while, you just need to make something quick and easy … and Daiya always delivers (Daiya’s Cheezy Mac is another great quick meal).

IMG_9912This pizza was remarkably flavorful, and its simple and delicious basic ingredients make it perfect for adding fresh veggies.

IMG_9913The cheese melts and browns beautifully, and the crust was thin and crispy.

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I highly recommended keeping this fast and yummy meal in the freezer for those times when cooking isn’t possible (or when you’re just feeling lazy…like me). There are many other varieties (including spinach & mushroom, fire-roasted vegetable, and “cheeze lover’s”), and we look forward to sampling them all.

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.

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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.

Daiya Jalapeño Havarti Style

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 Daiya Jalapeño Havarti Style cheese block is wonderful.

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While it’s not “artisan” cheese, it easily sliced for cheese and crackers, and the flavor and texture make it a great choice to nibble on with margaritas or sangria.

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This cheese wedge is also spreadable if it has a chance to warm at room temperature, and it would be delicious if shredded into tacos or in a tofu scramble.

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Overall this is a wonderfully spicy, versatile cheese — Daiya yet again has done a fantastic job!

Daiya Medium Cheddar Farmhouse Block

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 this in the grocery, we thought it might be a new Daiya variety.

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As it turns out, Daiya has simply updated its packaging (less plastic) and perhaps the recipe as well (“medium” is new to the label, which was formerly just “cheddar style block”).

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This is a wonderful cheese block and perfect for a variety of uses: shredding into recipes, slicing onto sandwiches, or simply slicing or cubing for crackers. It has a nice cheddar flavor and a very cheeselike texture — we served it to omnivorous friends who thought it was great.

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So next time you need a simple, versatile, and easy-to-serve cheese, this is a great one to have on hand.