Queenie and I had fun putting together a cheese platter recently, the goal of which was to sample some of the vegan cheeses we hadn’t yet tried. It was quite festive and tasty, and I wanted to share our impressions. Here are the brands we explored:
Cheese-wise, we tried Kite Hill’s almond-based Soft Truffle Dill & Chive, Treeline’s Herb Garlic Soft French Style, Heidi Ho’s Black Lava Ne Chevre, and two of the new slices by Follow Your Heart, specifically American and Provolone. Our accompaniments were various kinds of crackers, apple slices, fig spread, olives and cornichons. Once it was arranged, our plates looked like this:
The results: my favorite cheese by far was the Treeline Herb Garlic. In the photo above, it’s the middle dollop, below the white triangle of cheese (the Kite Hill) and above the one with the black stripe running through it (the Heidi Ho). It had a terrific spreadable consistency and a delicious flavor and mouth feel. This cashew-based cheese is not subtle. It packs a wallop of flavor! But if you appreciate a hit of garlicky, herbaceous yumminess, you’ll probably like this, too. We enjoyed it on crackers and on the apple slices. Yum. I definitely want to try more Treeline cheese. Their link:
I liked the cashew-based Heidi Ho Ne Chevre (aka “no goat”) quite a bit. The Black Lava is a type of salt, and it adds a lot of visual interest, along with the hazelnuts that are in that black stripe. Queenie noted that the after taste of this one is reminiscent of the flavor profile of Dr. Cow nut cheeses, so if you’ve tried those, you’ll have a sense of this one. Not everyone likes that vibe (Mr. Man included), but I do so it worked for me. Also, Heidi Ho’s line includes a fantastic range of jarred melty cheeses (“Chia Cheeze”) that are perfect for dipping and nachos, etc. Definitely a brand to get to know if you don’t already.
I have to say that the Kite Hill cheese we sampled was a bit disappointing for me (Queenie liked it a little better than I did). Kite Hill is a line of almond-based cheeses developed by Tal Ronnen, and I’ve tried a range of them at Crossroads in Los Angeles. I enjoyed those very much, so I’m not sure what happened here. For me, it was a consistency thing. It says “soft” right in the title, but that made me think of either something spreadable or something like a triple cream, but that wasn’t the case. It held its form when cut, which I guess made me think it would have a different mouth feel than it did. It was squishy and funky to me. I didn’t go back for seconds on that one. I will try other Kite Hills because of my respect for its creator. Will let you know how that goes.
Finally, we played around with the Follow Your Heart slices, which I’ve been hearing a lot about. It’s not often that you can take a vegan cheese slice right out of the package and eat it happily. These are pretty successful. Slap some on a cracker with a bit of fig spread on top and you’re talking deliciousness. The rumor is that they make divine grilled cheese sandwiches, which is how I’ll play with them next.