NuCulture Bacony Chipotle cashew spread

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 discover two NuCulture cashew spreads at our local food co-op (stay tuned for the review of the Garden Herbs variety).

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NuCulture has four plant-based spreads (including a dessert flavor, pumpkin spice), and all are vegan as well as gluten- and soy-free. The Bacony Chipotle is slightly bacony and incredibly spicy (in a great way).

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We enjoyed this spread on crackers and fresh bread, and it would also be delicious on a baked potato or as a dip for french fries … it’s light and creamy in texture and would be incredibly versatile on just about anything you wanted to add a bit of spice to (or make that a lot of spice).

NuCulture offers recipes on its website, and we also discovered that this variety, combined with the Garden Herbs flavor, created a wonderful cool-hot sensation (but that’s as far as we went, recipe-wise). Stay tuned for our next review…

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!