I was always an eager and glutinous dairy consumer, partly because it is delicious and partly because of the health benefits that have been hammered into my head, and very likely yours. The effects on my body of nursing off another animal into my adulthood led me to believe ancient physiology had it right in saying a quarter of the body was composed of phlegm. But the levels of vitamin D and calcium I was getting made my bones stronger than those of the cow I was mooching off of. I remember one instance when I was at camp, my foot went through the gap where two docks were connected and when I fell forward my shin bone caught my full body weight and tossed me sideways into the lake, bones intact and sweat suit soaked. I digress. The point: I loved dairy, so going vegan seemed impossible. But here we are, a few weeks short of a year and going strong. By strong I mean trying my very best but slipping up every now and then, and often missing cheese terribly. BUT, NO LONGER.
You may have heard of Daiya, the self-proclaimed “deliciously dairy-free” brand that imitates cheese and cheesy products. They will always be my first vegan love and my savior every Friday when my family orders pizza from Pizza Nova, allowing me to participate in hoovering my own personal pie. But, and I say this without judgement or hate, their products are reminiscent of craft singles and the sticky shredded cheese on bagel bites. I still missed the creamy but slightly sharp goat cheese on top of my spinach salad, and the buttery brie I stacked high on soft, fresh baguette.
Enter Margaret Coons, the Western University grad and founder of Nuts for Cheese, a cashew-based cheese handcrafted in southern Ontario that is not only deliciously dairy-free, sorry Daiya, but gluten-free, organic, and worthy of any charcuterie board. The ingredients list is beautifully short, also certifying it guilt-free.
Photo courtesy of nutsforcheese.com
They currently offer 5 different flavours with the promise of more to come in early 2019. I recommend the “un-brie-lievable,” which is, dare I say, unbelievable; and if I’m being completely honest all over my keyboard as I have eaten more than half of the wedge in the past 20 minutes. It is half way between a goat cheese and a brie, but very mild. Nuts for Cheese is easily found across Ontario and Quebec, carried by Sobeys, Pusateri’s and Whole Foods to name a few. Check out their website for more details on where to buy!
*UPDATE* I’ve eaten all of it. Buy two.