Vegan cheese face-off: Which are worth the honour of topping your crackers?

If there's anything that can convince me to let the moths out of my wallet and spend a little cash, it's a good cashew cheese. There's already a handful of good vegan nut cheeses for sale at the moment, but I'm always glad to see a new one on the market (and I'm even gladder to eat one too).

Recently, I've got to try three - count 'em, three - new vegan cashew cheeses. Oh yes! Now for the bad news -- if you need to sit down, I can wait a minute. It turns out I only really loved one of them. Have I just got fussy tastes? Could I be going off cashews? Is this some awful parallel universe where vegan cheese has gone weird? I couldn't tell you, and it upsets me to dwell on any of those possibilities.

Right, onto the cheeses: The first is Good Carma Foods' Spread Sensation. It's a vegan cheese spread alternative with cashews, miso, lemon juice, and yeast flakes. It's marketed as a mature cheddar cheese and comes in a generously sized tub. That tub looks like this:

I bought this on the strength of the ingredients - who hasn't used similar ones to make a really decent cheese sauce before? So I was hoping that this would be like my homemade version, only a million times better. (I like my own cooking, and I'm an optimist about other people's!)

I was a bit surprised to find I didn't love it. The texture was a bit hard to be properly spreadable, and the flavour was too miso heavy for my tiny tastebuds. I used it as a sandwich filling and on toast, but didn't find myself using it up at any great speed. I've popped the remaining half a tub in the freezer for when I've worked out what to do with it. Maybe turning it into a miso style dip like this? Any other ideas, send them this way!

The other cheese company I've been trying the wares of is New Roots, a Swiss company that makes a range of vegan alternatives to goat cheese, cream cheese, and even camembert. Yep, you read that right. I feel like the explosion in vegan products, over the last couple of years in particular, means there are vegan alternatives to almost any omni product you could wish for (side note: how long til vegan Advocaat exists? Don't get me wrong, I don't actually need or want that rather gruesome 80s alcoholic drink, but it's the only non-vegan product I've found that noone's attempted to veganise yet!)

That said, there aren't enough vegan camemberts out there in the world, and if anyone perfects them, I'm going to sign myself up to a subscription service.

New Roots' camembert is pretty amazing really - it has the white rind and spot-on squidgy texture that I remember from the non-vegan version. But for a proper fermented and culture cheese, it felt like the taste was a wee bit on the bland side. (Second side note: the price is nearly £9, so maybe I'm just convincing myself I wasn't the biggest fan so I don't have to finance an extravagant cheese habit.)

So, that's two failures... will the third one deliver more?

Of course, I'm not going to write a post about vegan cheese that doesn't have a happy ending! The third cheese on my list was New Roots' Herbes de Provence. If you think vegan Boursin, you're pretty much there. In the recent spell of freaskishly good weather, I had a picnic where I got to share this with some other vegans. (I think I should get some sort of badge for altruism for sharing something that good.)

Unlike the other two cheeses, the Herbes de Provence nails it on both the taste and texture - it's rich, creamy, and full of savoury herby tang. I've mainly been enjoying it on crackers and in sarnies - it's a great staple to have in the fridge. Sadly, it's not cheap, but I luckily managed to pick one up at half price with a best before date for the day after. I'm sure it would have lasted a good few days beyond that best before date, only I'd eaten it all before then.


  1. I still eat dairy cheese as a vegetarian, but I do indulge and try out v. cheeses on the market. I actually quite like the Good Carma Foods' Spread Sensation, but I know what you mean. I think for it to be spreadable, it needs to be room temperature. I still haven't come across a v. cheez that I think has nailed it and the prices, yeah can be a put off so you want to make sure what you pick up tastes like what it says on the label.

  2. I haven't tried any of these, and am not even sure if they are available here, but I'll look for the new Roots. I've tried one of Miyoki's cheeses that sounds similar. I do get the little twinge you might have been feeling about sharing the fab cheese. And yes, you are a kind and altruistic person, to share! We vegans are altruistic by nature, right? At least you shared with fellow vegans!

  3. These all look so properly cheesy! I'm impressed they're vegan. Sorry you didn't love all three, but at least one was a winner.

  4. I have had a lot of vegan cheese I didn't like (I think I am pretty fussy about my cashew cheeses), so thanks for this -- I don't to drop £6-9 on a cheese and be disappointed. I tried the vegan camembert from New Roots at a vegan festival in January and was pretty impressed. I'm not sure I ever had dairy camembert though so I don't have anything to compare it to! But two years ago at VegFest I tried a vegan camembert so bad I nearly threw up (I won't name brand names because I'm not 100% sure I remember which brand it was) -- and I took a friend the next day who had the same reaction. It was one people were raving about too, so we couldn't figure out if we were the crazy ones. Since then, I've approached all vegan cheeses with some trepidation, not wanting to repeat that experience. So I was actually kind of relieved New Roots' camembert didn't have too strong of a flavour!

  5. Your post reminds me of when things like vegan cheese and vegan ice cream first became available in stores and a lot of them were just terrible. But they kept at it and eventually got better and better so some are really good nowadays. But they're so pricey, I'll only get them when they're on sale. :-)

  6. Aw, I'm bummed that the camembert wasn't totally spot on. It looks so authentic! I can't think of anything similar available commercially in the states. Vegan cheese has come a very long way, but I think there's still a long way yet to go.

  7. I am sad that the camembert did not work because it looks so impressive. Glad you got some good stuff with the herbs - though I don't know I have ever tasted boursin. But I am sure I would enjoy the herb cheese. I wonder if the hit rate is a sign that you don't feel tearfully grateful to anyone who makes vegan cheese but can pick and choose because there are more and more out there - and long may they prosper


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