I remember when Sainsbury’s launched their range of vegan cheeses
(reviewed here – https://veganonadesertisland.com/2016/10/02/the-great-gary-review/ ) that they were marketed as being based around coconut oil, so it’s only natural that Koko – a company specialising in a coconut milk alternative – should launch their own “cheese”.
The two new offerings – a cheddar alternative and a soft/cream cheese are available in Waitrose’s new dedicated vegan section – it’s all on special offer at the time of writing – so get in there quick!
Coconut is healthy and, of course, cruelty-free, so seeing more products swell the continuously growing vegan market is great – and a dedicated vegan section in a mainstream supermarket – well, that’s just wow!
The soft cheese is indeed very soft – which means it spreads with ease without tearing up your bread. There is a coconut smell around both products. This should have come as no surprise really, but it does distract a little from the savoury nature of the food on offer.
However, once spread, there seems to be no coconut taste at all – or any taste really.
Yes, I’m afraid it’s a little bland for my palate. It isn’t horrible, and it goes quite well on toast – it just lacks that “wow my taste buds are having a party in my mouth” factor.
I can imagine it’s a good way to jazz up a jacket spud or add to a pasta dish. As it is, I prefer the Tesco spreadable cheeses on my toast in the morning.
The cheddar though is a different story.
At last, a vegan “cheese” that doesn’t come in a plastic coffin – full marks to Koko for this most basic of packaging success (the soft cheese comes in a recyclable pot too) and it also helps with actually getting at the product and storing it for future use – if you haven’t devoured the block in one gulp anyway.
It also slices easily. It doesn’t crumble in a frustrating manner like many vegan cheeses, but it slices effortlessly – ten out of ten for that too Koko.
Taste-wise, there is an air of coconut around this one, but there’s a noticeably stronger taste than many of its competitors and, dare I say, it has more of a “cheddary” taste about it (how I would imagine cheddar to taste anyway). In other words, it has a nice strength. It has a distinctive flavour, something other cheeses usually only achieve by flavouring the product with chilli, caramelised onion etc.
It isn’t a “knock you out” wow taste, but it is nice and distinctive. It also possesses a nice creamy texture. It isn’t too hard, not too soft and it works perfectly in a cheese and tomato roll.
But the big question is: Does it melt?
In a word, yes.
Although it appears to “split” a little when grilled, it does melt properly and, in doing so, the flavour is really pushed to the fore. The slight coconut smell is still there, but, for me, it’s the perfect vegan cheese on toast.
So, how much does it cost?
Well, normally the cheddar is £2.29 for a 200g pack and the cream cheese £1.99 for a 150g pot.