Nearly everyone we've talked to who has gone vegan or has given up dairy (for lactose intolerance or other dietary issues) has said the same thing: "I miss cheese." Is breaking up with cheese the hardest part of switching to a dairy-free diet?
Fortunately, more and more innovations have been made in kitchens across the country, and this one today came from Kingston, NY. We got the chance to sample all six flavors of Treeline's Treenut Cheese: Classic and Cracked Pepper cheeses, as well as Green Peppercorn, Herb Garlic, Scallion, and Chipotle Serrano Pepper soft cheese spreads.
These cashew-based cheeses and spreads were well-loved by the vegans in our office, and even several non-vegans, including our food editor, Anna, who is a total cheese connoisseur. Then again, those who went in expecting it to taste exactly like dairy cheese were not as satisfied . . . but all in all, this is probably the best non-dairy cheese we've seen (and tasted) so far.
Because all the flavors got a similarly high overall score, we're just going to break it down by the style of cheese: hard and soft, with some of the best and worst reviews.
Hard Cheese: Classic, Cracked Pepper
The firmer cheese was well received by those who were more familiar with cashew/vegan cheeses. Best reviews were, "Smokey cheese; I'm not vegan, but this is tasty." "Tastes smokey and cheesy." "Nice and tangy!" and "Goat cheese like texture." The only less favorable review was, "I think this is lemon paste."
Soft Cheese: Herb Garlic, Green Peppercorn, Scallion, Chipotle Serrano Pepper
Of the four, Herb Garlic and Scallion were the most loved, with all moderate to positive reviews. Most people liked them because they embraced the fact that they are not cheese. When they were tasted with the idea that these "cheeses" were more of a spread, they were compared to a creamy hummus or dip. That said, our non-cheese-eating comrades loved that they reminded them of real cheese. And while nearly every taster loved these, we had to include the one negative review that asked, "Is this toothpaste?!" Now that that's out of the way, check out these crazy-positive reviews.
- "FAR from vegan and would for sure buy!"
- "Yum! Reminds me of real cheese!"
- "Reminds me of goat cheese!"
- "It's a dip, but still good."
- "More like hummus than cheese, but that's not a bad thing."
- "I would spread this on a bagel for sure."
- "Very comparable to cream cheese."
- "Like the cheese in pasta shells and ravioli."
- "Good dip, but not cheese."
- "Love the spice and texture; creamy and not too salty."
- "This reminds me of Alouette! LOVE"
- "Zesty! #IntoIt"
- "Amazing! Great for a party!"
- "Great taste and just the right amount of kick."
- "I am obsessed with this! I love it!"