It's Time We Talked About Vegan Cheese
I'd like to start off this post by saying that I was the kind of boy that grew up eating the cheesiest food there is. From a straight-up plain cheese pizza to the most queso-drenched nachos, I devoured anything that had cheese in it, on it, melted, fried, sprinkled on, or stuffed with it. My favorite food with cheese, to this day, would have to be the classic cheeseburger. As a vegan, I've had my reservations in terms of whether I would still be able to eat the old foods that I was used to eating but without having to compromise my veganism ideals. It wasn't long until I realized that not only was I still able to get the same flavors that I craved, but, in some cases, it actually tasted much better. A lot of people might have a hard time believing that statement but you have to realize that it's 2017 and vegan food has come a long way.
A prime example of this is Riverdel, an artisan cheese shop in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, that carries some (if not all) of the best, gourmet vegan cheeses out in the market right now. The owner, Michaela Grob, couldn't have put it in a better way: "It's a cheese shop like any other. It's just that our specialty is vegan."
So what is vegan cheese?
Most vegan cheeses today are made using the same exact processes as what dairy farmers have been using, only instead of using milk, they use nuts. Some of the more flavorful vegan cheeses today use anything from almonds, cashews, and macadamia nuts and then blend them with cultures and age them to reach the desired consistency.
Today, vegan cheeses come in all shapes and forms: from spreadable cream cheese for your morning bagel, to shredded mozzarella cheese for your pasta, and of course hard American aged cheese for your classic cheeseburger, or grilled cheese sandwich (see below!).
I realize that there are still a lot of skeptics out there. I've met and talked with you: the vegetarian who refuses to give up dairy, or the hardcore carnivore who laughs at the idea of tofu cheese, or the snooty "health-conscious" traditionalist who insists that vegan cheese is not "real" cheese. Listen, I've been there. But you have to understand, this sh*t is GOOOOODD. That's all you need to know.
Now, excuse me as I finish the rest of this sandwich.