Another Vegan Butcher product for you today! I have never been a massive ‘cheese’ person, so honestly I have not missed cheese at all since going vegan. I was never someone who enjoyed cheese boards or really any cheese that wasn’t cream or melted. But since I’ve gone vegan, I am almost more willing to try these more ‘exotic’ cheeses.
The lady working on the counter said that this was a really good smokey cheese. She said that it worked best when melted, so it was really good to have in a toastie or on toast. Now as someone who eats cheese on toast far too often, I decided to give it a go.
So on toast it was just OK. It had a bit of a weird texture, because it was firm like a mozzarella, but would melt into a spreadable, cream cheese. I tried it on toast (as you can see) and it tasted a little bit too powdery. I don’t know if maybe that is because I was treating it like a hard cheese (like a slice of cheddar), so maybe if I had spread it out it may have been nicer? Not too sure really. But it did have a slight smokey after taste to it which was actually quite pleasant. I had been worried that it would be quite an overpowering taste (as so often cheese things can be) but it was really mild and added a nice after bite to the flavour.
Since it melted really nicely, I decided to try mixing it in with a risotto. I stuck with a basic mushroom risotto, just to see if the cheese would change any of the flavours at all. Let me tell you….GAME. CHANGING. This stuff melted beautifully, and made the risotto super creamy and thick. It also added that lovely smokey smell and flavour to it which seemed to amplify the other tastes. Again, it wasn’t overpowering, but you could still tell that it was there.
It also had a pretty long shelf life which I was also very surprised about. The use by was about 10 days, which for fresh cheese seems like a really long time to keep. I kept it in a reusable container, in the fridge, and even once opened and cut into, it still remained spongey and fresh four days later when I finally used it again. It also lasted for that whole week. I wasn’t exactly stingey with the portion control, but it managed to make two risottos and a mac and cheese, and we still had a few little slices left to add to a toastie during the week.
After the first meal though, I think it would have been nicer if it was a bit more smokey. The flavour could be watered down quite a bit depending on what else you added to it: For example, you could really taste it in the mushroom risotto, but in the asparagus risotto it was muted by the taste of the asparagus while cooking. It was still a lovely additional to a meal, but I doubt it would be the kind of cheese that you could just snack on.
Price wise, it was about £5, which is pretty expensive given that the Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco own brand cheeses are usually less than £3 for double the amount. But then it is a speciality cheese, and it definitely tasted more expensive and more luxurious than the basic stuff. It also lasted a lot longer than I thought it would, so for £5 I actually think that it is worth that price.