Besides being vegan, consumers are also making the choice to go more ethical with food. The demand for handmade artisanal vegan cheese is a ferment of this tide as several sustainable eaters want to go for something more traditional. This move is miles away from machine-produced cheese and helps promote local employment while safeguarding the arduous, traditional techniques of cheesemaking.
Artisanal vegan cheese is made from plant-based ingredients and is created using traditional cheese-making techniques. These cheeses are often made in small batches and aged to develop complex flavors and textures. The process of making artisanal vegan cheese requires skill, patience, and expertise, making it a unique culinary art.
Vegan artisanal cheese is an excellent alternative to traditional cheese for individuals who are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy. Additionally, it is a sustainable and cruelty-free option for individuals who choose to follow a plant-based lifestyle. In this article, we will take a closer look at vegan artisanal cheese, including its history, production process, and some of the best vegan artisanal cheese brands.
The History of Vegan Artisanal Cheese
The concept of vegan cheese has been around for several years, but the quality of vegan cheese was often questionable, with many of the products being bland and tasteless. However, in recent years, the demand for vegan cheese has increased, leading to the development of new and innovative plant-based cheese options.
The production of vegan artisanal cheese has its roots in Europe, particularly in France and Switzerland, where cheese-making is considered an art form. The traditional methods of cheese-making were adapted to create vegan cheese, and the result was a range of artisanal vegan cheese options that are both delicious and healthy.
How is it Made?
The production process of vegan artisanal cheese is similar to that of traditional cheese-making. However, instead of using animal-based products, vegan cheese is made using plant-based ingredients such as nuts, soy, and coconut oil.
The first step in making vegan cheese is to choose the base ingredient. The most common base ingredients for vegan cheese are cashews, almonds, and soy. These ingredients are soaked in water and blended to create a smooth paste.
Once the base ingredient is ready, it is combined with a culture to create the cheese flavor. The culture is usually made up of bacteria or yeast and is added to the base ingredient to ferment it. Fermentation is a critical step in the cheese-making process as it develops the unique flavor and texture of the cheese.
The cheese is then molded into the desired shape and aged. The aging process can take anywhere from a few days to several months, depending on the type of cheese. During this time, the cheese is allowed to develop its complex flavors and textures.
Best Vegan Artisanal Cheese Brands to Shop
The vegan lifestyle has become more popular than ever, and people are constantly searching for new and exciting ways to explore the world of plant-based foods. One of the challenges for many vegans is finding a suitable replacement for cheese. Fortunately, there are many artisanal vegan cheese brands that offer high-quality and delicious options for those who follow a vegan diet.
Miyoko’s Creamery is one of the most popular vegan cheese brands in the US. It offers a wide range of artisanal cheeses made from organic, non-GMO ingredients. Some of their most popular products include Smoked Farmhouse, Double Cream Chive, and Aged English Sharp Farmhouse. Miyoko’s Creamery also offers a variety of plant-based butter and spreads.
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Treeline is a New York-based company that creates artisanal, tree nut-based cheeses that are fermented and aged to perfection. Their products are made from cashews, almonds, and macadamias, and come in a variety of flavors such as herb garlic, chipotle serrano pepper, and scallion.
Vtopian is a small company located in Oregon, and offers a wide range of vegan cheeses made from cashews and organic soybeans. Their products include a variety of soft and hard cheeses such as Camembert, Gorgonzola, and cheddar, all of which are aged to perfection.
Kite Hill is a California-based company that uses almond milk to create a range of vegan cheeses that are both creamy and flavorful. Their products include soft cheeses like ricotta and cream cheese, as well as harder varieties like aged cheddar and truffle, all of which are made with artisanal techniques.
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Punk Rawk Labs
Punk Rawk Labs, based in Minnesota, specializes in creating raw vegan cheeses made from cashews and macadamia nuts. Their products are fermented and aged using traditional methods, resulting in rich and complex flavors like Smoked Cashew and Chive, and Herb and Garlic.
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Dr-Cow, located in New York City, is known for its vegan cheeses made from raw, organic cashews and almonds. Their products include a variety of flavors such as Aged Cashew and Dill, and Aged Cashew and Kale, all of which are fermented and aged using traditional methods.
Cheeze & Thank You
Cheeze & Thank You is a Chicago-based company that creates artisanal vegan cheese made from cashews and organic ingredients. Their products include a variety of flavors such as spicy buffalo cheddar, dill havarti, and garlic herb feta.
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Nuttin Ordinary is a Philadelphia-based company that produces artisanal vegan cheese spreads made from cashews and almonds. Their products come in flavors like creamy herb, chipotle cheddar, and garlic and chive, and are perfect for spreading on crackers or bread.
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Black Sheep Vegan Cheeze
Black Sheep Vegan Cheeze, located in Virginia, creates artisanal vegan cheeses made from cashews and almonds. Their products include a range of flavors such as smoked gouda, mozzarella, and feta, all of which are fermented and aged to perfection.
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The Cultured Nut
The Cultured Nut is a California-based company that produces artisanal vegan cheeses made from cashews and coconut cream. Their products come in a variety of flavors like chive and onion, sun-dried tomato and basil, and smoked paprika, and are perfect for snacking or incorporating into recipes.
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Your Questions, Our Answers: What is the Deal About Vegan Artisanal Cheese?
As the demand for vegan artisanal cheese continues to grow, people have many questions about these products. Here are some of the most commonly searched questions about vegan artisanal cheese, along with detailed answers.
What are the main ingredients in vegan artisanal cheese?
The main ingredients in vegan artisanal cheese vary depending on the brand, but they typically include nuts such as cashews, almonds, or macadamias, as well as plant-based oils like coconut oil. Some brands also use soybeans or other plant-based ingredients.
What are the health benefits of vegan artisanal cheese?
Vegan artisanal cheese is generally lower in fat and calories than traditional dairy cheese, making it a healthier option for those looking to reduce their intake of animal products. These cheeses are also typically high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats from nuts and plant-based oils.
Are there any drawbacks to eating vegan artisanal cheese?
One potential drawback of vegan artisanal cheese is that it can be expensive and harder to find than traditional dairy cheese. Additionally, some people may find that the taste and texture of these cheeses are different from what they are used to with dairy cheese.
Why Choose Vegan Artisanal Cheeses?
As the world becomes more aware of the environmental impact of animal agriculture, many people are looking for more sustainable alternatives. Vegan artisanal cheeses can be more sustainable than traditional dairy cheese in several ways:
Reduced carbon footprint
Dairy farming is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. Vegan artisanal cheese production generally has a smaller carbon footprint, as it does not involve raising and caring for livestock.
Reduced water usage
Animal agriculture is a notoriously water-intensive industry, requiring vast amounts of water to produce just one pound of cheese. Vegan artisanal cheese production generally uses less water than traditional dairy cheese, as plant-based ingredients require less water than animal-based ones.
Reduced land use
Animal agriculture is a leading cause of deforestation and habitat destruction, as land is cleared to make room for livestock and their feed crops. Vegan artisanal cheese production generally requires less land than traditional dairy cheese, as plant-based ingredients require less space to grow.
Use of sustainable ingredients
Many vegan artisanal cheese makers prioritize using organic, non-GMO, and locally sourced ingredients in their products. This supports sustainable agriculture practices, reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation, and ensures that the ingredients are free from harmful pesticides and other chemicals.
Traditional dairy cheese production can result in significant waste, as excess whey and other byproducts are often discarded. Vegan artisanal cheese production generally produces less waste, as plant-based ingredients can be repurposed or composted more easily.
Supporting small, independent businesses
Many vegan artisanal cheese makers are small, independent businesses that prioritize ethical and sustainable practices. By purchasing their products, consumers can support these businesses and help them thrive.
Creating local jobs
Many vegan artisanal cheese makers source their ingredients locally and produce their products on a small scale. This creates local jobs and supports the local economy.
Ethical treatment of animals
Vegan artisanal cheeses are made without the use of animal products or byproducts, which means that they are cruelty-free. By choosing vegan cheeses, consumers can support the ethical treatment of animals and reduce their impact on animal welfare.
Health and wellness
Many vegan artisanal cheese makers prioritize using organic, non-GMO, and locally sourced ingredients in their products. This supports sustainable agriculture practices and ensures that the ingredients are free from harmful pesticides and other chemicals, which can benefit human health and the environment.
Eco Wiser on Vegan Artisanal Cheeses
Vegan artisanal cheeses can support employment and other ethical goals by supporting small, independent businesses, creating local jobs, promoting ethical treatment of animals, prioritizing health and wellness, and supporting a more sustainable food system. By choosing vegan cheeses, consumers can make a positive impact on both their health and the planet.