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?