Written by Sophie Wood
Who knew watching videos on ‘YouTube’ could be so enlightening? I was enjoying listening to the music of ‘Vegan Smyth’; one of my favourite vegan singers, songwriters and comedians. He is the man that has given us memorable songs like: ‘Where do you get your protein?’ ‘The Preachy Vegan Song’ and ‘WTF Do You Eat?’ While listening to his song, ‘Couldn’t give up my cheese’, I contemplated some of the song’s lyrics: ‘Vegan cheese, vegan cheese, if you really need cheese have vegan cheese and leave the cows alone, please.’ Vegan cheese? I consider myself quite the vegan connoisseur however I must admit I had never tried vegan cheese. This got me thinking; where can I get some vegan cheese? I have been a vegan for two years now and my foodie adventures have led me to vegan ice cream, vegan yogurt and vegan chocolate, to name a few. My mind was made up. I would search for this vegan cheese.
Being a 16 year old, growing up in a small town in Tasmania, I wasn’t sure where to start. First I tried my local Coles and Woolworths supermarkets and was amazed to find soy cheese! I haven’t always had success looking for a limited, but growing range of vegan goods. Nevertheless I examined the newly-discovered soy cheese. My eyes automatically glance at the packaging, as I am so used to doing. Scanning the ingredients, I crinkle my nose. What? The soy cheese contains dairy protein. Dairy protein! Actually it’s ‘casein’ to be precise, a protein in which regular cheese is made. Unable to find a true vegan cheese, I left wondering who other than vegans would want to consume soy cheese?
I put my quest on the back burner for a while and even considered making my own cheese. I am certainly not adverse to making my own replacer and there are plenty of recipes out there, but it’s something about pre-made food presented in professional packaging that tempts my senses.
It was only recently – when on a family holiday to Hobart, while shopping in town – I came across ‘City Organics, the Eco Grocer & Natural Beauty Store.’ I had a eureka moment when I noticed their fridge stocked full of dairy-free ice creams, yogurts, gluten-free pies and most excitingly for me, vegan cheese! I headed for the fridge and saw brands like: ‘Cheezly Vegan Cheese’ and ’ Vegusto’. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw flavours such as Mozzarella, Nacho and Cheddar. The ‘cheese’ prices ranged from $7.95 to around $11.50.
Since my discovery I’ve made delicious meals such as: toasted cheese sandwiches with ‘Vegusto’s, No-Muh Aromatic’, nachos with ‘Cheezly’ nacho cheese and pizza with ‘Cheezly’s’ mozzarella. It’s safe to say I am a huge fan! The other day I was raving about the cheeses to one of my non-vegan friends, but she scoffed at the price. I assured her, it is a small price to pay to buy an equally delicious product that spares cows and calves a lifetime of misery.