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.

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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.

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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.

Miyoko’s Sharp Cheddar-Style Cheese Sauce

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)

Here’s the thing about the very best Miyoko’s cheeses: You have to act fast. And when we learned that Miyoko’s had a new cheese sauce, we did just that. (It was then sold out for a while, and now it’s back! So…act fast.)

This Sharp Cheddar-Style Cheese Sauce is phenomenal. While many plant-based folks make homemade cheese sauce that is very good, I’m not among them, and, until recently, I had yet to find a truly incredible cheesy sauce that requires nothing more than pouring it over pasta to make a delicious meal.

But now, there’s this:

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As with other Miyoko’s cheeses, this ships in two days via FedEx, and it comes in smallish containers (one meal, basically, for no more than a pound of pasta, and less if you want it to be super cheesy).

IMG_4514Because it’s cashew-based, the ingredients separate a bit, so you have to give it a good stir, then heat it over the stove until it gets thick and creamy — about 10 minutes or so.

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The result is a beautiful, thick, cheesy sauce that is perfect for pasta shells. And, just for a little variety, we also tried it with macaroni, which was equally delicious.

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As many vegan cheese lovers know, consistency is among the toughest things to perfect when it comes to plant-based cheeses, but Miyoko’s nails it. And this sauce also has the sharp, cheddary flavor of any classic mac-and-cheese recipe.

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Don’t forget to ask your local retailers about carrying Miyoko’s cheeses … we are thrilled to see them in no fewer than four of our local stores, and counting, in many different flavors. But ordering online has its benefits, too — Mikoyo’s donates 1% of its online sales to an animal rights/vegan nonprofit.

 

 

 

Kite Hill Soft Fresh 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.

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This Kite Hill almond milk cheese has a lovely, rich, nutty flavor.

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However, its clammy, slightly rubbery texture doesn’t make it the best cheese for spreading onto crackers.

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The Kite Hill website suggests that this cheese can “be served warm with fresh bread or crostini” — and warming it up might be a good way to go. Served cold, the cheese doesn’t spread well; it’s far too crumbly … yet we did find that it makes a nice foundation for bruschetta; the tomato mixture holds the crumbles in place, and the creaminess of the cheese is delicious.

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This Soft Fresh Original reminds me of ricotta, but Kite Hill actually has another ricotta-style cheese, which we haven’t been able to find locally yet.

This Soft Fresh Original is also a great vegan cheese for sprinkling over salads … it enhances lettuce and veggies with its rich, creamy, subtle, savory flavor.

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So while this isn’t the best cheese for spreading on crackers straight out of the fridge, if you’re looking for a nice crumbly vegan cheese for myriad other purposes, check out Kite Hill Soft Fresh Original.

Miyoko’s Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash

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 admit we put off trying Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash because it seemed a little strange — a cheese covered in black ash? And indeed, it looks a little odd…

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We half-expected the cheese to be a little gritty, or to have a smoky or charcoal flavor. However,  the black ash is so fine that it barely registers, and it has no flavor at all.

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The only flavor that comes through in this delicious cheese is the gouda-like flavor of the cheese itself, which is very smooth and creamy. It’s a little firmer than Miyoko’s double-cream cheeses but still highly spreadable.

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I highly recommend this one, as it’s so unique and fun. And vegans who miss gouda will especially love it.

Fresh Loire Valley in a Fig Leaf

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)

Miyoko’s insanely popular Fresh Loire Valley in a Fig Leaf has been sold out for months — so, when we saw that it was finally in stock, we pounced.

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This cheese is gorgeously packaged — if you need something to take to a summer dinner party, this is it.

Wrapped in organic-vegan-wine-cured fig leaves, this cheese is cashew based and unbelievably smooth and creamy — not thick and “chewy” like a brie but lightly and delicately creamy.

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The flavor is sharp, with a tinge of sweetness, and according to its description on Miyoko’s website, it is supposed to get even sharper as it ages. (Wish we could tell you more about that … but Miyoko’s cheeses do not last long enough around here to age.)

IMG_9681We hope you’ll give this one a try while it’s available — and remember, for the month of June, Miyoko’s will 1% of its online sales Vegan Outreach. Not that you need a reason to order this delicious cheese…

Miyoko’s Napa Valley in a Brandy-Cured Grape Leaf

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 that Miyoko’s Kitchen was offering a Limited Edition cheese, in a brandy-cured leaf no less, we couldn’t resist.

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The Napa Valley in a Brandy-Cured Grape Leaf is, like so many Miyoko’s cheeses, a thing of beauty.

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This cheese soaked in a bit of the brandy it was wrapped in and has a hint of flavor and sweetness, and it otherwise has a lovely nutty, slightly smoky flavor.

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This soft, creamy cheese is rich and indulgent — and we highly recommend trying it while it’s available. It’s perfect for early summer feast with fresh bread or crackers.

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Heidi Ho “Ne Chèvre”

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 recently found the Heidi Ho brand of artisan cheeses and were delighted to give them a try. We sampled two different kinds of “Ne Chèvre” — Pure, and Black Lava.

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The Pure version was bland and flavorless. The texture was not perfectly smooth — which is not unlike my memory of goat cheese, though it’s been a while — but this made the cheese a bit less appetizing.

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Much tastier was the Black Lava version, which had a layer of crushed hazelnut and black salt about halfway through.

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Stirred throughout the cheese, this layer greatly enhanced the flavor, giving it a lovely nutty flavor. This cheese was also much richer than the plain “Ne Chèvre.”

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We’re not sure we’d go out of our way for either of these cheeses again, but Heidi Ho seems better known for its Chia Cheezes, which we’re eager to try; these come in creamy, spicy, and smoky flavors and look both delicious and versatile. Stay tuned!

Vtopian Caramelized Onion Camembert

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)

Today we present Vtopian‘s Caramelized Onion Camembert.

caramelized onionThis cheese wedge, thanks to its caramelized onion topping, is quite sweet and would make a great dessert cheese.

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In general, we noticed that Vtopian cheeses have a longer list of ingredients than either Treeline or Mikoyo’s (which generally have under ten ingredients), and the sweetness in this wedge seems to come from the soy-based yogurt. Despite the sweetness of this cheese, the total sugar is less than 1 gram per 1-ounce serving. And the major ingredients of Vtopian cheeses are organic.

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We had a lovely vegan-friendly wine — Guenoc Victorian Claret — which, thanks to its complexity and spice, made a great pairing with this sweetish cheese.

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Welcome to the vegan cheese revolution

John Yunker

John Yunker is a novelist, playwright, web globalization geek, and co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. Learn more at www.JohnYunker.com.

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There was a time not long ago when eating vegan cheese was not, to put it mildly, the most enjoyable experience. These were the days when “it melts” was considered a major product selling point.

Thankfully, those days are behind us.

We live in a Renaissance period of vegan cheeses.

This blog is dedicated to exploring these cheeses — and pairing them with vegan wines! — and sharing our tastings with you.

We hope you enjoy this journey as much as we do.