Naturally better than processed vegan cheese


Vegan cheeses have been big news this year. For instance, Sainsbury’s received a boost to their sales after social media Christened their new vegan cheese line “Gary” in response to the yawnsome “don’t call it cheese” reaction from non-vegan purists.

Almost as exciting as the rise in veganism, is the rise in small “start-ups” offering an alternative to the corporate vegan products out there; one such firm is The Naturally Vegan Food Company in Northampton, UK.

Offering a range of nut-based cheese alternatives, the NVFC have become a staple of vegan fairs in the Midlands for several months now – and they have been impressing those who have tasted their wares every step of the way.

I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to try a range of what they have to offer, and I must say I was rather impressed.

Their cheese balls are large and certainly have a nice rustic look about them. Being freshly-made means the “used by dates” aren’t as long as their processed competitors, but this is extremely reassuring to those of us who like more natural products.

The Vegan Cheese Ball has a creamy taste and offers a nice crunch, curtesy of the almonds it contains. It’s a nice orange colour, with a pleasant tang. For me, it works well with pickles, or on crackers. It isn’t overly spiced and is a nice addition to sandwiches.

The Smoked Vegan Cheeze Ball is my favourite. The almonds are very prominent here and it possessed a dark orange colour that shouts “smoked” in your face. Indeed, it tastes smoked too – which is always a bonus with smoked cheese! The nutty crunch is present and correct again and it has a lightly-spiced air to it, which adds to the gorgeous smoked flavour.

Sulmona Topping Cheese is your natural alternative to the vegan Parmesans out there – most of which are pretty tasteless if I’m to be honest. This, on the other hand, isn’t. You can taste the Nutritional Yeast used in this one – which is always a good thing – and the inclusion of pink salt is obvious to one’s taste buds too. It adds a nice, cheesy taste to pasta and pizza dishes. An effective and distinctive alternative without being too intrusive or overpowering.

Finally, the Creamy Classic Cashew does exactly what it says on the pot. It’s light, creamy and, most importantly, delicious. The use of garlic is very welcome and compliments the nuts extremely well. It’s perfect as a sandwich spread and is great on toast. It also works well as a dip – especially with celery.

Why not check The Naturally Vegan Food Company out for yourself?


Every Little Helps for a vegan Christmas


Tesco Selection Box review


Time was, Christmas was a complete horror show for vegans – a dry nut roast for the festive lunch and an apple to follow. Of course, sweets and chocolates were politely declined.

But now, vegans are big business and there are festive vegetarian magazines, an array of festive roasts in supermarkets and health food shops (I noticed one with a used by date of December 17 last week) and chocolate, boy do we have an array of chocolate to choose from!

People have still been excited to see the appearance of Tesco’s own-brand Free From Cho Selection Boxes however, because, now, we have truly hit the mainstream.

Despite the fact it’s only November, and I personally believe the word “Christmas” should be banned before December 24th, I decided to brave the commercial madness on behalf of you lovely people and bought one.

It cost me two quid, which, looking at the contents, is about right. You get three Choc bars – the normal Choc one (a milk chocolate alternative), a Choc ‘N’ Crispie and a White Choc, plus two small packets of choc buttons – a normal milk alternative packet and a white choc packet.

As all of these normally sell for 40p a throw each, it doesn’t take a maths genius to work out that the price is very fair. All the products are palm oil free too, which is important to many vegans.

There’s a small spot the difference game on the back, as, after all, my guess is these a generally not marketed at 40-something cynical blokes.

This is also borne out by the tiny number of buttons in the packets – but with the white ones being sweeter than sugar itself, that may not be a bad thing. The choc ones could be used on cakes as they too are medium sized – those ones are quite creamy, but still carry a noticeable sugar hit. But, again, we need to remember they are aimed at children, and they will absolutely love them.

The Choc ‘N’ Crispie bar is probably the best of the bunch as the crspie bits helps to detract from the sweetness. This means it has more of a creamy taste than its Choc counterpart – I prefer it to the Sainsbury’s equivalent I reviewed in an earlier blog. Talking of which, I have reviewed the other two chocolate bars from this box before too. But here’s a quick reminder for those who are new to my ramblings….

The White Choc Bar has a very sweet smell about it and, in fact, also tastes very sweet – but creamy too. It’s quite heavy and indulgent, but I like that.

The Free From Choc Bar is a little hard when you bite into it, but many people like the crunch effect. It does have an overpowering sugar hit, but isn’t really creamy enough for me. That isn’t to say it isn’t nice, it is a nice treat, it just doesn’t have the chocolaty taste that some of the other bars around possess.

All in all, it’s a good value stocking filler for the young and not so young vegans this Christmas and it’s great to see vegans getting more and more recognition on the High Street.



Veganism vs “veganism”

World Vegan Day was first celebrated in 1994 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Vegan Society. So, here in the UK, we can be proud of the fact that it all started here.

Marked on November 1st each year, it gives us vegans a chance to celebrate our diet and promote it to others. In the age of social media, that is becoming more and more easy.

But, as the number of vegans grows beyond what anyone could have imagined back when the Vegan Society was first born, I have to ask, has complacency set in?

I read about the big animal rights march in London, the weekend preceding World Vegan Day, where 2,000 vegans marched through the capital. Veteran animal rights campaigners remarked that 20 years ago that figure was 20,000 on some animal rights demonstrations – and that was at a time when the number of vegans wasn’t a patch on the figures we see now. I also read a piece by the Countryside Alliance remarking that the number of protesters at fox hunts each weekend was very much fewer these days than it was 20 years ago – and that’s before the Hunting Act, before the law gave a degree of protection to “sabs”.

This is where the difference between “veganism” and “animal rights” is highlighted most starkly. Many people debate the word “vegan” online, coupling it with “animal rights”, but, if we’re honest, people who follow a plant-based diet are, by the dictionary definition of the term, “vegan”. Newspaper articles highlight the fact that many people go vegan for health reasons, others do it for compassionate reasons, but aren’t what is seen as the “activist” type. Others are what many like to term “armchair activists”, and being an “armchair activist” has never been so easy. Social media means that we can sign petitions all day long – but does it make any difference? Well, yes and no, is the straight answer – as straight as you’re going to get anyway!

No, I haven’t gone all politician on you, but, it’s true, petitions do make the Press, they do make people aware as they pop up in people’s Facebook newsfeeds, but, on the whole, politicians tend to ignore them – look at the recent “Ban Grouse Shooting” petition – it got debated, and the MPs decided to totally ignore the will of the people. Politicians ignoring the people they serve? Never! Sadly, it was thus, and it is time and time again.


I have said before, and I stand by the fact that to be a vegan is to be an activist – you are saying “no, using animals as products is wrong”, and you aren’t adding to the death toll in slaughterhouses and on dairy farms – but do you need to do more? That, my friends, is a question only you can answer.