Dairy-free fromage

Vegans swear dairy-free cheese tastes the same. (Image courtesy of violife)

Fake cheese is one of those topics on which vegans love to evangelize: “You can’t taste the difference!” It’s usually spoken to a non-vegan friend, with an undertone of pleading. We need this. We need you, omnivore friend, to go along with it.

Luckily, fake cheese has come a long way from the tasteless, textured slices not so far in our collective past. Still, it rarely tastes like dairy. Vegan cheese is its own thing, and we should love it as is. It’s time to stop pretending.

Personally, I’m happiest to give up on the idea of vegan “cheese” (and can we please stop spelling it “cheeze”) in favor of Treeline Nut Cheese spreads; the Herb-Garlic flavor is a particular favorite.

If, however, you’re seeking a more dairy-reminiscent experience, Violife is quickly gaining popularity with serviceable slices and wedges. Some people swear by their ersatz feta, but my go-to is their smoked Gouda-style slices on veggie burgers (do yourself a favor and use Pretzilla buns).

Miyoko’s is gaining quite a following, being a little bit closer to cheese and texture, and with a full line including faux-whipped “butter.” Its mozzarella melts better than most, and I’ve been satisfied using it in Caprese salad, with only minor grumbling from turophile friends.

All of those aside, you may be most familiar with longtime vegan stalwart Daiya. They do have some some serviceable products, including their Farmhouse Blocks, which taste good and, when shredded, melt reasonably well. However, Daiya Shreds are straight trash and you should seriously reconsider friendship with anyone who serves them to you.

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