On this blog, I make my enthusiastic turophily known to the world. So it may be a surprise that I was willing to try an ersatz, non-dairy “cheese.” I may not be a vegan, but I do limit my cheese consumption (except when traveling) to products without animal rennet. And I’m always interested in new vegan options, even if the meat analogues to date have been more satisfying than the cheeses.
One of my favorite meat analogue producers is Seattle-based Field Roast Grain Meat Co., which makes truly delectable vegan roasts. They recently came out with a line of “Chao” slices, so I decided to investigate. Admittedly the Chao Original sat in my fridge for a couple of weeks before I got up the enthusiasm to sample it. But it’s a tasty treat if you have a yen for something creamy and savory, with a bite like al dente pasta.
The slices are on the thick side with plenty of body. You can pull one from the package without tearing it. Clearly they’re designed to go straight into a sandwich (and they melt very well), but I’m one who likes naked cheese. I ate mine cold as a standalone snack and found the flavor pleasing. It’s mild, with an aroma of the coconut oil that is one of the main ingredients, but it also has a distinct hit of umami, without being as salty as a slice of classic “American” cheese. The savor comes from fermented tofu, the “Chao” adapted from Vietnamese cuisine. Other ingredients include potato starch, sea salt, “natural flavor,” olive extract and beta carotene.
This isn’t cheese. It’s good food, and it satisfies the same craving. I will buy it again, just for fun. And I’m interested in trying the other flavors, Coconut Herb with Black Pepper, and Tomato Cayenne with Spicy Pepper.
Postscript: The Tomato Cayenne is pretty to look at, but its flavor is disappointing. Plenty of hot pepper, but not enough umami or tomato. It would be OK in a sandwich if you want a touch of heat.
aha, good use of tofu though i prefer it on it’s own but would be curious to try something similar, just as a replacement for cheese 🙂
It’s fun as a snack and I’m sure it’s a godsend for vegans pining for a nice melty grilled cheese sandwich!
its not it’s uuf, sorry
Sylvie G said:
It won’t arrive here for some time, but would like to try.
Maybe it will be an international hit 🙂
OT! just watched the 2nd ep of Shetland (series 3), sadly missed the first but caught up now
I wanted to watch it anyway, for many reasons, but i saw a clip and check out who’s in it! http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01s711r
Will have a search but it’s likely to come out on DVD soon and will let you know. I like it 🙂
Oh yes, we CH fans have been swooning right and left over this one 🙂 A brilliant piece of acting by Himself, scary/dodgy/threatening on the one hand and tender/sad/loving on the other. Thanks for the link to the review, I’ll pass it on! I’m just sad that he won’t be in the rest of the episodes, unless we can dare to hope for a flashback or two.
i knowwwww.. i was groaning by the end of it, i went: oh nooo, not agaaaain!
Me too. At least he got a decent amount of screen time, and what he had was well used 🙂
Lisa @ cheergerm said:
Vegans need it so I am glad some good vegan cheese exists! I do love a bit of umami in my cheese, sounds pretty good.
It’s fun. I think it would be good on a toothpick with some olives. Best to keep it simple with this one, though it would be great on a huge, many-layered submarine sandwich 🙂