Why is good vegan *cheese* so hard to find

Lou

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This is from a new and upcoming news outlet. If this article is anything like we can expect in the future it looks to have a promising future.


[***Mod edit AndyT: Changed "vegan food" to "vegan cheese" in the title, as that is what the article refers to]
 
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Sax

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...she's calling dairy cheese magic and a spiritual experience? 🤨

I wish veganism weren't so closely associated with processed imitation foods.
 

Lou

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I wish food wasn't so closely associated with "processed" anything.
I've harped on this before, but technically almost all food is processed. Pulling a carrot out of the ground, washing it, and peeling it is 3 processes. Oatmeal goes thru at least 5 processes. but we don't usually think of those foods as processed. So we now have the word "highly processed".

I think the main thing we have to be concerned with is when the processes remove or add things. Like adding salt and sugar, or removing fiber.
 

TofuRobot

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I've harped on this before, but technically almost all food is processed. Pulling a carrot out of the ground, washing it, and peeling it is 3 processes. Oatmeal goes thru at least 5 processes. but we don't usually think of those foods as processed. So we now have the word "highly processed".

I think the main thing we have to be concerned with is when the processes remove or add things. Like adding salt and sugar, or removing fiber.
I think it's pretty standard to accept that "processed" food these days means food that was processed in a plant somewhere. Highly processed. The same definition that Dr. Greger uses when he speaks about processed vs. whole foods. A carrot pulled from the ground and chopped with a knife in your kitchen doesn't classify as "processed food." It's simply a chopped carrot as there are no nutrients removed from the carrot. With processed food as the WFPB doctors refer to, the food is processed to the point of losing much of the nutrients and fiber, along with having added a lot of crap people don't need. It no longer resembles it's original form. In other words, it comes in a package with a bunch of ingredients you can't pronounce, or it's something like "puffed rice" or "instant potatoes."

 

wonderfularizona

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I recently tried Chao, vegan cheese, for the first time a couple of months ago. It tasted equal to or better than dairy cheese. I served vegan cheese to my family. But, I do not want to eat it myself. I still think about cows when I tried vegan cheese.
 

shyvas

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I recently tried Chao, vegan cheese, for the first time a couple of months ago. It tasted equal to or better than dairy cheese. I served vegan cheese to my family. But, I do not want to eat it myself. I still think about cows when I tried vegan cheese.
Just curious here, but which cheese were you comparing it to ?
 
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wonderfularizona

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@shyvas

Please take a look at my avatar and consider the source of information before reading my post.

I am not certain I can answer your question directly.

My stepfather was a hard-working honest dairy farmer/veterinarian. I developed an exceptionally refined taste for milk even before my mother remarried. So talking to me about milk was almost like talking about fine wine. In fact, dairy farmers loved hearing my descriptions of drinking milk. I could tell you if a gallon of milk was handled properly just by the taste. It was a taste that most people could never detect.

I am not an expert on cheese. Still, I generally preferred the full flavor of an extra sharp cheddar cheese during my cheese-eating days. Chao cheese was a light refreshing experience. Yet, it seemed like it had been aged for a while under a very controlled environment. If someone told me that it was a luxury import cheese from some exotic country, I would believe her.

Nowadays, I can not eat cheese anymore because it makes me think of animal suffering. Nevertheless, I will always respect the old-time dairy farmer with dirt under his fingernails and the smell of manure on his clothing.
 
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PTree15

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I do hope vegan cheese improves. I've yet to find one that even comes close to dairy cheese in taste. It's why I waited a good three years after I went vegan before I tried plant-based cheese.
 

shyvas

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I do hope vegan cheese improves. I've yet to find one that even comes close to dairy cheese in taste. It's why I waited a good three years after I went vegan before I tried plant-based cheese.
I've never come across one that even vaguely tastes like cheese. :D
 
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Andy_T

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A few thoughts here ....

1) Dairy cheese is a highly processed food, to expect anything different from a non-dairy cheese strikes me as unlogic.

2) I agree, dairy cheeses have many subtle, refined, delicious tastes,unfortunately all of them are products of cruelty.
I remember the "standard" cheese of the 1970's in Europe, which was quite bland and called something like "Cheese according to Dutch style". 20 years later, the landscape was much changed, and you could get all kinds of fancy European specialties.

When I stopped eating dairy cheese about 10 years ago, I did not consume any kind of cheese for about 6 weeks. Only then did I try my first vegan cheeses. Out of these,1 was unremarkable, 1 was outright horrible and the third one (Swiss Vegusto No-Moo) was quite delicious, so that my non-vegan wife and myself polished it off that very evening.

But not having the direct comparison to dairy cheese allowed me to appreciate vegan cheese on its own merits. Quite likely, by direct comparison to a dairy Gruyere cheese, the No-Moo would have been too crumbly, and not subtle enough. But not having that direct comparison made me really like it a lot.

Somehow, I think that vegan cheeses are now at that spot where dairy cheese was sometime between the 1970s' horrible blandness and the first beginnings of deliciousness. They certainly have developed a lot in the last 10 years since when I went vegan (although I still consider the Swiss No-Moo among my favourites).

Let's hope for the best, and possibly tell people not to expect the exact same experience from vegan cheese they are used to from dairy cheese.

Vegan burgers are much further in that respect (although I can not really tell, as I ate my last meat burger some 30 years ago), but I understand it is even possible to fool many meat eaters that they are eating "the real thing". Not so easy with vegan cheese, unless some rather quite expensive artisan products.
 
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Andy_T

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So talking to me about milk was almost like talking about fine wine. In fact, dairy farmers loved hearing my descriptions of drinking milk. I could tell you if a gallon of milk was handled properly just by the taste. It was a taste that most people could never detect.
WA, you should definitely apply that describing capability of yours to sharing your thoughts on some leading non-dairy milks! (I guess. Don't know if you like any :p )
 

MoreGreens

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I do hope vegan cheese improves. I've yet to find one that even comes close to dairy cheese in taste. It's why I waited a good three years after I went vegan before I tried plant-based cheese.
Have you seen the promotional roll out for Miyoko's soon to be released cheeses? They're really playing up the quality and taste. In a couple of months, I suppose I'll be in a queue with everyone to try it, but I'm not going to retire my skeptic's hat just yet! If it tastes good and has nutritional value, I might collapse in shock 😄
 

Lou

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Have you seen the promotional roll out for Miyoko's soon to be released cheeses? They're really playing up the quality and taste. In a couple of months, I suppose I'll be in a queue with everyone to try it, but I'm not going to retire my skeptic's hat just yet! If it tastes good and has nutritional value, I might collapse in shock 😄
Besides Miyoko there are a number of companies that are working on new and improved vegan cheeses. This may be the next super-growth area like plant milks or plant-based burgers.

They may not be inexpensive or even healthy but I'm thinking they will taste good (or at least better).

Maybe not as important as a good plant milk, but maybe even more important than a good plant-based burger, I think vegan cheeses will be really good for veganism.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard, "I could be vegan, but for the cheese".

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PTree15

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Have you seen the promotional roll out for Miyoko's soon to be released cheeses? They're really playing up the quality and taste. In a couple of months, I suppose I'll be in a queue with everyone to try it, but I'm not going to retire my skeptic's hat just yet! If it tastes good and has nutritional value, I might collapse in shock 😄
LOL, I have not. I tried their vegan cream cheese once and absolutely hated it, so I don't now whether I would try their cheese, as their prices are quite high. :D
 

shyvas

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LOL, I have not. I tried their vegan cream cheese once and absolutely hated it, so I don't now whether I would try their cheese, as their prices are quite high. :D
I'm not a fan of cream cheese. The ones that I miss are farmhouse British cheddar, Stilton and some soft French cheeses.
 

MoreGreens

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LOL, I have not. I tried their vegan cream cheese once and absolutely hated it, so I don't now whether I would try their cheese, as their prices are quite high. :D
They are expensive! I'll only buy them on sale. Well, I've only tried the Vegan Roadhouse Cheers for Cheddah! (The first taste was like someone added yellow mustard and vinegar to hummus... I wasn't ready for that! I think they went for tangy and got tart. I did eat it with crunchmaster crackers, but it wasn't like any cheese of any quality that I've ever encountered. In the end, I grew to like it for itself, because I do enjoy tartness.) Just found the classic chive wheel on sale for $6.49 so I grabbed that, and I'm waiting until I feel brave to see what mystery it holds.
 
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