Cheese can kill. Las Vegas Sun writer Brian Nordli knows this because he’s allergic to milk. Not lactose intolerant, like he eats pizza and gets gassy. Like he eats pizza and stops breathing.
Thanks to the vegan movement, he has found many inventive and occasionally tasty ways around the dairy-infused goodness the rest of us take for granted. November happens to be World Vegan Month, celebrating the founding of the first vegan society in 1944. In honor, Nordli and I hit up Whole Foods for non-dairy “cheese.” Because even if you love (and can survive) the real stuff, aren’t you curious what fermented nut dust and nutritional yeast flakes can do?
Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cheddar
ER: It almost tastes more like tomato to me than cheese. Yeah, it’s like tomato tofu. BN: I don’t even know if I taste anything. It looks like cheddar. It’s yellow. I’ve never had actual cheddar, but I’m guessing this tries to go for the inoffensive. $4.99
Parmela Parmesan Style Aged Nut Cheese
ER: Very pungent. BN: Blanched almonds, cashews, nutritional yeast flakes. Is it nutritional yeast flakes that you taste? ER: I don’t know what I’m tasting, but it is alarming. BN: It wasn’t bad, to me. ER: You took a morsel. I took a forkful of craziness. Needs spaghetti. $3.99
Heidi Ho Spicy Chia Cheese
ER: This is not like cheese, it’s like a red pepper spread. It would be good on a sandwich. You could use it as a condiment. BN: I don’t think that’s what they’re going for, but I like this one a lot. I can definitely see using it for a seven-layer dip or tacos. Boom! Chili con queso. $6.99
VegCuisine Soy Feta
BN: This meshes well with the cracker. It doesn’t stick out. I can see how this would go well with meats, too, because of that herb-like flavoring. Definitely like the feta. ER: It’s way milder than real feta, but it has the same crumbly texture. I like this, but it’s much more subtle. $4.29
Daiya Jalepeño Havarti Style Block
ER:I’m impressed! It’s really good. I would actually eat this. I don’t know if it tastes like Havarti, though. It doesn’t have the creaminess. BN: But it “melts and stretches.” That’s key. I could eat a full thing of crackers with slices of that. That’s the first time I’ve ever felt that way. My favorite part about Daiya, too, is it says it’s a “style.” It’s not trying to be cheese. It is what it is. To me it just tastes good. $4.99