Monday, 3 December 2012

More 'Cheese Please!' More dairy free alternatives to cheese

A few months ago, when I joined Twitter, my initial plan was to get the news out about the Dairy Free Baby and Me Blog - there's no point in writing a blog unless there are people reading it! I was keen to get out there, to pass on what I'd learned, so that others who struggled with Cow's Milk Protein Intolerance (or similar issues) would have some kind of starting point - which is what I would have liked, when I began this 'journey'. What I didn't expect, however, was that I'd find companions, friends even, to share the 'journey.' 

One such, is 'Sugarpuffish' - a beauty blogger who has grown up with eczema and various food allergies. Having grown up with these, she has a wealth of experience behind her. She is, moreover, able to do something that I cannot - which is tolerate soya. So, following my own post about dairy free cheese, she has very kindly agreed to write contribute this post about dairy free 'cheese' made with soya.

Thank you, Sugarpuffish, over to you!

I was diagnosed with allergies during my childhood. In those days there were no Free From aisles at the supermarket, soya milk was prescribed by my GP and I simply went without cheese.  I have watched the Free From market developed and the most exciting part for me has been the invention of dairy free cheeses. Unlike Dairy Free Baby and Me, I can tolerate soya so I am going to tell you about my favourite dairy free "cheeses". Before I get started people will moan at me that dairy free cheese is not very nice and tastes nothing like the real thing. I do not disagree there are some grim alternatives but for me the real thing is a distant memory and I think that what makes them easier for me to digest. Plus manufacturers are always improving techniques. I always say forget about what you are trying to replace and you can then embrace the alternatives.

My favourite hard/block cheese replacement is Sheese and I buy it at an independent health food store. There are eleven styles to choose from – Blue, Cheshire, Cheddar with Chives, Edam, Gouda, Medium Cheddar, Mild Cheddar, Red Cheddar, Mozzarella, Smoked Cheddar and Strong Cheddar. I personally like the Medium Cheddar style. I enjoy the stronger flavours as the milder varieties taste a little bland. I use hard cheeses for pizzas, sauces and topping off dishes like spaghetti bolognaise or nachos. Sheese also have spreadable varieties which I enjoy.

Tofutti is the brand I have known the longest and its from the USA.  The choice of products available in the US is larger than here and makes me rather jealous.  Tofutti is available to buy at Holland & Barrett or Goodness Direct and they usually stock spreadable cheese, slices and grated mozzarella style. Let’s start with the spreadable varieties. This is the one I most enjoy on crackers and I love the Garlic & Herb.  My Holland & Barrett also stocks Original and Herbs & Chives but I see Goodness Direct also offer French Onion, Country Vegetable, Chopped Olive and Sour.  I think it’s the flavouring that makes this dairy free cheese more enjoyable than others on the market. I have been told the Original version is excellent for Vegan cheesecake recipes.

Tofutti slices are similar to dairy counterparts. It tastes and looks fake so for that reason I think its best suited to sandwiches and burger buns. I am not going to lie it does have a distinct flavour and I have learnt to love it over the years. It is a convenient alternative to grating or chopping. It will melt but it does smell unpleasant and will affect the flavour so I do not recommend using it in this way. 

Other brands to look out for are Cheezly and Vegusto.  I buy Cheezly when I cannot get hold of Sheese. I think that Sheese is slightly superior in taste and texture but they are fairly similar. One problem I do have with Cheezly is it goes mouldy quickly. As for Vegusto, I tried this at the Allergy & Free From Show and found the texture grainy and not to my liking. Others do rave about their cheeses and it has won awards.  It retails online or at independent stores so not the easiest for me to get hold of. This is a plant based cheese alternative which is gluten, dairy and soy free.

I hope you have enjoyed reading. Thank you to Dairy Free Baby and Me for the opportunity to guest post on her blog.



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11 comments:

  1. Can you indicate which are made with soya? Am in search of a dairy and soya free one for son.

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    1. Hiya! All of the cheeses in the above post are made with soya. My previous post was about cheese made without. The only one I know of is called 'Cheezly' and is sold in Holland and Barrett. However, be careful - there are some made of soya that look the same and are sold on the shelf right next to it. You have to check the packaging carefully, to make sure that it is the dairy and soya free version.

      Otherwise there is something called 'Nutritional Yeast Flakes' made by Marigold (link to their site on the previous post) which is available in health food shops. Not a cheese as such, it adds a cheesy flavour for sauces and often appears in vegan recipes.

      Hope this helps!

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    2. Yes, you're right. I always forget that one, 'cos I can't eat the cashews!

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  2. can I add from my own experience that tesco do a what is imo a very acceptable soya cheese, to see what I thought of it http://www.funasagran.co.uk/2012/04/tesco-new-free-from-cheese-and-cheese.html

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    1. That's really interesting, Elaine. I think I might be right in saying that the Tesco version is made by the same manufacturers as 'Sheese' (mentioned above). However, it can't be quite the same, I think, as Sugarpuffish finds that the Tesco version disagrees with her. Obviously everyone is different, so it's great if the Tesco one works for you :)

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    2. Only just discovered that Sheese & Tesco Free From Cheeses are connected & you are spot on for some very odd unexplained reason it gives me stomach ache. My Boyfriend suggested quality/ingredients may not be identical (not something I've researched). It's a shame for me as I agree it's acceptable version

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  3. thanks for sharing.

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  4. We've just published a 'taste test' of 11 dairy-free cheeses, some of which are soy-free, including the winning cheese MozzaRisella, which is made from rice. You can check out our vegan cheese review at veganoo.net

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    1. Always good to get a second opinion! I see you like Mozzarisella too! :)

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