As soon as I got my package home, I couldn't wait to rip open the little compostable corn container of Cashew Cream Cheese. Its pearly-white loveliness beckoned to me from under the peekaboo lid. Dr. Cow's Cashew Cream Cheese just seemed to be crying out for me to try it with Dr. Kracker crackers. What a perfect pairing—it was love at first bite! ♥♥♥ Smooth, creamy, rich, and delicious. Everything a girl could ever want from a cream cheese. And yes, I do think it would be very geshmak (that's "tasty" in Yiddish) on a cinnamon-raisin bagel!
Dr. Cow's Cashew and Blue Green Cheese is strikingly colorful in its mold-colored rind and has many other characteristics of dairy bleu cheese, like its sharp and somewhat salty taste. But happily, it doesn't share dairy bleu cheese's distinctive smell. It would be delicious with pears, raisins, and walnuts. And I cannot wait to crumble some into my next salad!
The caramel-colored Aged Macadamia Nut Cheese is very soft and spreadable. With just the faintest hint of herbs des Provence, it reminded me of a cross between Reblochon and Morbier or even German Quark. (Yes, before I knew better, I very much used to enjoy my cheeses!)
Dr. Cow's Aged Cashew & Brazil Nut Cheese surprised me with its delightfully smoky flavor, and the blonde-colored Aged Cashew Nut Cheese was both pleasantly mellow and wonderfully sharp. But my favorite cheese of all was the Aged Cashew & Hemp Seed Cheese. Its texture was firm but creamy, and it had a decidedly sharp bite. Its creaminess was the perfect match for some crunchy apples from my happy apple tree!
So, what's the secret? How do the brilliant folks at Dr. Cow make their 100% raw organic artisan cheeses taste so very much like cheese made from cow's milk? It's simple. (Well, it's simple to say. I'm not at all sure that it's simple to do). They use the same process that is used to make traditional dairy-based cheese: They prepare a nut curd using some of their own home-made acidophilus (friendly bacteria) and a little royal pink Himalayan salt. And it's even more wonderful that they do it without adding any preservatives, stabilizers, artificial ingredients, or additives of any kind. While these cheeses are made with whole-food ingredients, they're not low in fat—after all, they're made from nuts. Now you may be thinking, "What's a McDougall girl like Gail doing eating this stuff?" Well, Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheeses come in dainty packages, which makes it easy to enjoy them as delectable little indulgences. Like coconut milk ice cream, cashew whipped cream, and so many other decadent treats, they're a wonderful way to occasionally add some lovely flavor, texture, and excitement to your meals.
Hopefully by now you're asking yourself where can you buy all of this deliciousness. Check out Dr. Cow's store locator to see if there's a store near you that carries them. If not, you can order them online directly from Dr. Cow or from Vegan Essentials or Pangea. You can even order them online in Canada from upayanaturals.
Now you can tell all of your friends who say they can't give up dairy because they can't imagine living without cheese that there are some really great new alternatives. Challenge them to kick the dairy habit for a month. After thirty days, ask them how they feel. (You know they're going to say they've never felt better.) Then invite them to slowly start trying some of the cheese alternatives out there. (Some guidance here would be a good idea. After only thirty days, you may not want to start screaming about the cheese-like joys of adding nooch to everthing.) You might even buy your friend a little "congratulations gift" of Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheese to help celebrate their dairy-free month and encourage them to keep on going! Here's my list of favorite vegan cheeses in no order of preference, because each one brings something uniquely delicious to the table:
Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheeses
Ste Martaen Cheeses
Nacho Mom's Ultimate Vegan Queso
Sunergia Foods Soy Bleu and Soy Feta Cheeses
2014 Update: Sunergia Foods Soy Bleu and Soy Feta are now from VegCuisine
Daiya Deliciously Dairy-free Mozzarella and Cheddar Cheeses
Vegan Gourmet Cheese and Cream Cheese Alternatives
Wayfare Foods We Can't Say It's Cheese Hickory-Smoked Cheddar-Style Spread
What's your favorite?