Kite Hill Cream Cheese – Plain

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 tried the Kite Hill plain after we sampled the chive — and expected this flavor to be less exciting than its chive version. But while it’s not chivey, it is no less delicious.

kite-hill-plainAmong three tasters of a good many vegan cream cheeses over the years, this is the hands-on favorite. This almond-milk-based cheese is perfect for those who want a simple and very good, very authentic vegan cream cheese.

plainIt would likely be great in recipes, but unlike other vegan cream cheeses, it doesn’t have a too-sweet or artificial flavor. It is just plain delicious.

Kite Hill Cream Cheese – 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)

This is my new favorite cream cheese. I used to be addicted to Daiya’s chive & onion cream cheese for bagels, but now it’s this Kite Hill variety. I haven’t looked back.

img_5770This Kite Hill cream cheese is perfect … light, fluffy, creamy, with a wonderful flavor if you like the chives. It’s delicious and flavorful enough to use on crackers, veggies, and crusty bread.

kite-hillOf all the cream cheeses we’ve reviewed, Kite Hill stands so far above the rest. No longer will we ever have to say “it’s pretty good for a vegan cream cheese” — this is just delicious, period. (Stay tuned for our review of the plain version!)

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.

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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 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!

Treeline Chipotle Serrano Pepper

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 French-style cheeses, and while our local co-op only has one variety, we found this Chipotle Serrano Pepper flavor at a California Whole Foods.

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The texture of this variety is ever-so-slightly chalky (probably not noticeable to most), but the spices are fantastic — hot and a little smoky.

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This cheese would pair very well with a light, crispy white wine, a sparkling wine — or any cool drink, for that matter — and due to its heat, it would be even better with veggies than with bread or crackers.

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.

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.