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Check this out: a new vegan fermented nut cheese

There's a new vegan cheese in town - and this one's cashew-based.

My Gary tastes are quite limited: I don't much care for soy or coconut based cheese, but if it's made of nuts, I'm there. So, when I saw a new cheese in both Whole Foods and Planet Organic boasting 'extraordinary... made with fermented nuts' I thought I should give it a go.

It's called Cicioni and it's from Italy. It comes in a rather pretty octagonal shape, with a bit too much in the way of packaging.

I thought a serious cheese like this demanded a serious preparation, so I decided I should go make some homemade oatcakes. I love oatcakes, but they always come wrapped in individual portion packets with far more plastic that they really need. So, in the spirit of cutting the amount of rubbish I made, I made some myself.

They're actually pretty easy to make (I used this recipe as a starting point, and veganised it, obviously) and I was pretty pleased with how they turned out. Have a look at my dainty cheeseboard:

Enough of the pictures, what about the taste? Well, I'm sorry to say I wasn't blown away - I found it a bit bland.

The ingredient list for Cicioni is nice and small: cashews, almonds, water, salt, lactic ferments - but given that ingredient, I was hoping for a bit more of that sharp tang. I've made my own fermented nut cheese and bought a few different brands, and they all had a bit more flavour than this. Cicioni is just a little bit gentle for my cheesy tastes. Also, the texture was a bit on the spongy side, which I found a bit offputting.

So does that mean that Cicioni cheese is a total washout? Not so. It turns out that there's a use for every vegan cheese out there.

I made a tart with a few chunks of the cheese on it, and it was much better - the taste was sharper and stronger, and the texture firmed up so that the sponginess had gone. Nice. For what it's worth, I then tried it in a toasted cheese, spinach and tomato sandwich, and it wasn't quite as good, so I'm thinking baking it the way forward. Maybe covering in breadcrumbs and making a big old plate of crispy baked cheese pieces for a salad.

I'm not sure I'd buy the cheese again, particular given the stiff price tag, but I'm always glad to see another vegan nut cheese on the market.

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  1. fermented nuts sounds interesting - shame the taste was not quite as sharp as you wanted but I suspect they will get a few sales from the fancy packaging

  2. There is little else as disappointing as bland food! They did a nice job on the packaging, so perhaps they need to spend more time on the product?!

  3. Bummer the cheese wasn't better, I've found some vegan cheese just aren't very good eating it by itself but much better heated or cooked with something. But it's awesome to see new vegan products. :-)

  4. Ah shame it did not meet with to your 'cheesy' expectations, I have tried a few v cheezes and some are hit like the spreadable ones and some are miss, those much firmer. I haven't made oatcakes since leaving Scotland, now I have to and take a leaf from your book and make the recipe vegan.

  5. It's a shame it wasn't as good as you'd hoped - I'm also a sucker for nut cheeses. At least you've found out for the rest of us that it bakes ok!


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