Ask any vegan, and they’ll tell you: A common reaction people have to their diet is, “How do you do it? I could never give up cheese!” We’re all cutting back on meat in favor of eating more plants. And more people are shifting away from cow’s milk in favor of alternatives made from almonds, cashews, coconuts, and other non-dairy sources. But a life without classic cheddar or creamy camembert seems like blasphemy. However, this may soon change, too.
In the past, the only vegan cheeses on the market were the equivalent of celebrity impersonators—a sad, disappointing excuse. Most had a rubbery texture and plastic taste, and they were made from ingredients like palm oil, starches, and gums. But today there’s an increasing number of artisanal non-dairy cheeses on the market. Ones that, if you served them at a wine tasting and didn’t tell your friends, they might not even realize they’re eating vegan.
“More people than ever want to reduce their intake of animal products,” says Michael Schwarz, founder of Treeline Cheese, which produces cheeses made from cashews. “I think it’s due to a combination of the revelation of what does on in dairy industry, health issues, and climate change. But they still want to be satisfied in having a really nice thing to eat instead of dairy cheese.” Enter nut cheeses.