Soledad Cheddar and Cracked Pepper cheeses

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 are two more cheeses from the Sanctuary at Soledad Goats.

The first is cheddar style, which was not what we expected, since the website’s photo of this cheese is white, not orange, and sliceable, not spreadable.

IMG_1561Yet the flavor of this variety is nicely cheddar, though there is a hint of sweetness, which may not be for those who are looking for something sharper. And unless the cheese has changed a lot since we ordered it, it doesn’t fit the websites description of being great “on a cheese board”; it’s far too soft. But it does work on crackers, as shown below.

IMG_1562The cracked pepper chevre style, however, does fit the website’s description (“a smooth, creamy, spreadable soft vegan cheese”), and is delicious.

IMG_1569The cheese bears no resemblance to its photos (it’s so soft, there’s no way it could be sliced) — but the texture is lovely and the cracked pepper offers a great kick.

IMG_1570This is a wonderful, flavorful cheese that’s perfect for bread and crackers.

IMG_1572Do keep in mind that we were among the first to order Soledad’s cheeses, and we expect that with experience, they are only getting better at what they do. What we like best of all is that a former goat farm is now a sanctuary that rescues animals instead of exploiting them. So Soledad is well worth our support.

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.

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.

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!

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!

Kite Hill Soft Fresh Truffle Dill & 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)

Like Kite Hill’s Soft Fresh Original, this herb almond milk cheese has a damp, rubbery texture that makes it difficult to spread directly onto bread or crackers.

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However, the truffle, dill, and chive in this variety make it far more flavorful than the plain version, and its texture makes it absolutely perfect for sprinkling in salads…

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…and over vegan pizzas.

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So if you’re looking for a creamy, herby addition to your favorite foods, give Kite Hill‘s Soft Fresh Truffle Dill & Chive a try. While it’s not ideal as a main event, cheese-wise, it’s an excellent enhancer to anything made better by being cheesier. (Which includes so many things.)