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.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

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.

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.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

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.

Daiya Chocolate Cheezecake

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)

First, happy National Cheese Lovers Day (who knew?). We are glad to be able to celebrate with such delicious, healthy, and compassionate options, and we hereby thank all those who are bringing such delicious vegan cheeses to the marketplace.

And, since we’re celebrating: Chocolate Cheesecake.

A while back we reviewed Daiya’s New York Style cheezecake, and we loved it. We couldn’t wait to sample the chocolate version, which we’re happy to report is even better (we didn’t think it was possible).

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This chocolate version has the same rich, delectable creaminess — along with the amazingness of chocolate.

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Remember these come frozen, so you need to give them at least 6 hours to thaw (it’s very disappointing when you don’t remember in time, as I have learned). After a few hours in the fridge, this beautiful cheesecake is ready to go…and it’s not likely to last long on the plate.

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This is a dessert any omnivore would love — it would be gorgeous drizzled with vegan chocolate, and impossible to tell from the “real thing.”

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.

Daiya Cheezy Mac

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 easy-to-prepare Daiya Cheezy Mac on sale at the local grocery, we couldn’t resist.

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This mac-and-cheese is so easy, in part, because it doesn’t require any vegan butter or plant milks to prepare — all you need is in the box.

And, for anyone with food sensitivities, this product is not only vegan but gluten and soy free. The pasta (be careful not to overcook; it takes only 8 minutes!) is nice and chewy, not rubbery as many gluten-free pastas can be.

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And the cheese sauce is thick, cheesy,  rich, and has a sharp-cheddar taste — but it has a slightly chemical smell and flavor as well. (This should probably be expected of something that comes in a foil package.)

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Obviously, nothing comes close to good, homemade vegan mac-and-cheese (and Miyoko’s cheesy cheddar sauce tastes a lot more fresh), but this is pretty good, and insanely convenient, if you must have a packaged variety. And the fact that all the ingredients are in this little box and that it takes about 10 minutes to prepare, start to finish, makes it a good product to keep handy.

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!

Miyoko’s Pub Crock Cheddar with Onions

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)

Now that winter is on its way — as well as the holidays — it’s time to think of what sort of cheese you can curl up with, as well as serve to guests. Miyoko’s Pub Crock Cheddar with Onions is another terrific Miyoko’s creation.

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This cheese comes not in a wheel like so many other Miyoko’s cheeses but in a tub; it’s far softer and very spreadable.

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This new spread, according to its website description, “combines our farmhouse cheese with Oktoberfest vegan lager from Iron Springs Brewery, just down the street from us here in Fairfax.” Along with onions and mustard seeds, the combination of ingredients is wonderfully flavorful and is perfect on crusty bread.

pub cheese2Don’t miss this new one, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner; this is a cheese vegans and omnivores alike will love. And remember, this month Miyoko’s will donate 1% of all online sales to Farm Sanctuary!

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.

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.