Mr. Dewie’s Cashew Creamery

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)

Mr. Dewie’s cashew ice cream is no longer available in grocery stores, but if you’re lucky enough to visit the Bay Area, you can visit one of the creameries yourself. And we highly recommend doing this.

We visited the Albany store for a few scoops, and could not resist taking home pints, bon bons, and ice cream sandwiches.

All but one of the flavors offered on the day we visited were vegan (anything not vegan or organic is clearly labeled), and the hot fudge and caramel sauces are also vegan. We tried chocolate orange chip and coconut flavors with hot fudge and almonds.

While we only had room for one scoop each (and because cashew ice cream is so rich, it’s a good thing there’s so much available to go), we were able to sample many of the flavors, which made the decision-making very difficult.

All flavors are rich, creamy, and delicious — most unique and interesting is “tumeric spice,” which is sweet with a little bit of zing; it’s bright yellow-orange and incredibly appetizing. The chocolate orange chip is another unique and wonderful combo; other favorites were chocolate coconut, mint chip, and caramel almond.

In addition to Albany, you can find Mr. Dewie’s at the Emeryville Public Market. Show up hungry, and bring grocery bags to take home what you can!

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.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

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.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

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).

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.

NuCulture Garden Herbs 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)

At the same time we tasted NuCulture’s Bacony Chipotle cashew spread, we sampled its Garden Herbs variety.

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Like the spicy chipotle flavor, this one is light, creamy, spreadable — and delicious.

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And while it doesn’t have the kick of the Bacony Chipotle, it’s herbs and spices are lovely, and it’s wonderful on crackers and bread. It’s perfect for anyone who’s looking for a less eye-watering snack, and it would be glorious on a bagel.

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Check out NuCulture’s website to learn more and to find recipes. We look forward to trying (once we can find them!) the other two cashew spreads soon!

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…

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.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

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!

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!

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.