With the ever-rising number of vegans amongst the Leeds Student population and the nation, multiple supermarkets have brought out great options for those among us who are sacrificing turkey, goose-fat roast potatoes and pigs in blankets this Christmas and New Year’s. From Tesco’s ‘No-Turkey Crown’, M&S’ vegan wreath and even Sainsbury’s ‘Sprout Sprinkle Pigs in Blankets’, it was only a matter of time before we saw the emergence of Vegan ‘Nut’ and tofu-based cheeseboard cheeses. So, today we’re testing vegan cheese on taste, price and appearance.
Mouse’s Favourite Camembert £8.99:
Camembert is a firm family favourite, so ‘Mouse’s Favourite Camembert’ had a lot to live up to. However, I was deceived by the perfectly round white exterior, only to find it was a strange pus-coloured BROWN inside. Highly unappetising.
Looks aside, the taste was not bad at all. It did have a strange armpit smell and did not have a gooey, stringy interior, but actually tasted quite nice spread on a cracker. It just should not be called camembert.
I’m taking away a point on the account that it is leaking cheese water everywhere. Minging.
7/10 if it was called a soft cheese
4/10 because they are claiming it is a camembert
Violife Creamy Spread £2.30:
Violife Spread is highly advocated for by vegans worldwide and I can see why. It looks exactly like Philadelphia and is cheaper too at £2.30! Believe it or not, it actually tasted quite nice initially. Definitely like a milder, coconutty cream cheese. Having said that, the more I ate it, the more it tasted like a coconut body lotion. Is it strange I quite like it?
Overall, a nice enough vegan cream cheese and I would happily eat this on a bagel
8.5/10- would’ve got a 9 but it’s a bit soapy
Koko spread £2:
Koko spread is very similar in composition to Violife Spread (made from coconut too) and tastes quite similar too. The cream cheeses seem to be doing quite well, with a pleasant, mild flavour that would be scrummy on a bagel. The texture is like a bad jelly, but other than that it’s pretty good. It retails at £2 too, so I would recommend this soft cheese too!
Violife Original £2.30:
Violife cheese is a best-selling vegan cheese and I can see why; it looks exactly like cheddar cheese, despite being made from coconut oil. The texture is slightly more rubbery than your average Catherdral City Cheddar, but I kept eating it, so it can’t be that bad. It tasted just like mild cheddar. I’d definitely recommend this as the best hard cheese we tried.
Vegusto No Moo Blue Classic Cheese £6.99:
Every cheeseboard needs a stinky blue cheese and a vegan cheeseboard is no different, with the ‘Vegusto No Moo Blue Classic Cheese’ taking on this role. I instantly felt quite ill after reading ‘it might have brown spots’, but actually it just looks uniformly grey. Nothing blue here. It was also strangely wet and slimy.
Unfortunately, it tasted even worse. It literally disintegrates in your mouth and becomes this mushroom-y mush. Definition of a bad nut cheese. This has the potential to ruin Christmas. The whole table was gagging. Avoid. It’s also £6.99 – big rip off. Get this in the bin.
Tesco Coconut Alternative Jalapeno and Chilli Cheese £2.25:
Then, we have ‘Tesco Coconut Alternative Jalapeno and Chilli Cheese’. It looks like a lovely Red Leicester, but actually smells a bit pungent; like some bad, funky Wotsits. It tasted like a weird Wotsit too. I can’t help feeling the jalapeno flavour was used to mask the undertone of bad body odour. Flavourful, but I’m conflicted as to whether I enjoy the flavour.
Part of me says 6/10
The other part says 3/10
Applewood Smoky Vegan Cheese £2.30:
Applewood’s ‘Smoky Vegan Cheese’ is another very popular vegan cheese because of the affordable £2.30 price tag and it’s supposed similarity to gouda. It smells delicious and the taste started off decent. AND THEN, it turned nasty. A hideous fungal flavour and the strangest powdery texture. So, based on the fact that my sister keeps retching at the reminder of this cheese, it’s getting a -1000/10
Overall, I would say the soft cheeses were the most promising and I would happily eat them as a non-vegan. Strangely, the texture played a bigger part in eating these cheeses than the flavour. Although a lot of the flavours were pleasant and cheesy, the irreplaceable cheese texture is what let these cheeses down. I was pleasantly surprised, particularly by Violife and hopefully this gave you some guidance of what to buy or, what not to buy for your Vegan Cheeseboard.
Header image credit: Niva Yadav