At the start of lockdown I was cleaning out my freezer. I found some frozen cream cheese culture from my dairy days. Kate and I were big into cheese: supermarket cheese, artisan cheese, home-made soft cheese. And once, after a stomach bug, I wanted to eat nothing but Dairylea. Dunno why, it was really awful, but our bodies are sometimes weird like that. The point is that we liked cheese. When it comes to vegan cheese we’ll try just about anything, we enjoy a lot of it but there is only one cheese that we love as much as we love its dairy counterpart, and that’s Food by Sumear.
I should point out that we’ve been ordering these cheeses since May but we haven’t managed to blog about them so far because we keep putting them in our mouths. They arrive. We think “should we arrange them with some oat biscuits for a picture?”, and before we’ve even managed to finish the thought we’re just opening it to try a little bit… and then it’s gone. We’ve never managed to make a fancy cheese board up. But then it’s not like we’re having guests is it? And we do get plates out and sit down. It’s not like we eat it straight out of the fridge. That’s a specific denial, isn’t it?
So what’s so special? Well these are proper hard cheeses. They have the depth of flavour that can only come from time and cultures. The smoked cheese is really smoked. The blue cheese isn’t just flecks of spirulina (I bought a book for its blue cheese recipe once; that the secret was just making it blue the colour rather than anything that mimicked the taste was beyond disappointing). There is a quality to them that’s unlike any other vegan cheese I’ve tried.
I’m focusing on the hard cheeses and so did my first couple of orders. Because supermarket vegan cream cheese is okay, isn’t it? And my home-made stuff is a bit better than okay, so I’m covered for vegan cream cheese and I don’t need any Crèmou. And I’m sure that I kept telling myself this because I knew that if I tried it I would become an instant convert. I ordered a pot, made some bagels, and they were the best bagels with cream cheese I’d ever had. It’s so rich, so creamy. honestly it’s better than most of the dairy cream cheeses I ate back in the day. I know Kate definitely thinks the soured cream is better than any of the dairy ones she ever tried. I put some on our enchiladas one night and she went from tolerating me feeding her Mexican food to asking when we could have more.
The last product I want to mention is the Trímma, Greek-inspired cheese. I’m mentioning it last because I want to include a recipe-ish. A recipish. I used to make this tart when I worked at the coffee shop and we had some Greek-style vegan cheese (of a lesser brand) that we needed to use up. I’d pick up a pack of Jus-Roll on the way in and use up some tomato and pesto otherwise destined for paninis. Back then I’d cut it into six to make single servings, and so it would fit in the dinky toaster oven. You can make it as one big sheet or cut four triangles. As this is a recipe dreamed up for using leftovers, the quantities are very forgiving.
(makes 1 large or 4 small)
1 Vegan Puff Pastry Roll (get the ready-rolled kind; we use Jus-Rol)
2 tablespoons of pesto (you can make your own but Tesco does a good free-from one)
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
50-100g Trímma cut into blocks
Remove the puff pastry from the fridge ten minutes before you want to start cooking and preheat the oven to 200°C.
After ten minutes unroll the pastry. Either place it whole onto a baking tray, or cut it in half, cutting each half into two triangles.
Turn the edges of the pastry in.
Spread the pesto over the base of the tart. Put the tomatoes and Trímma on top.
Pop in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the crust is going golden and the Trímma is lightly melted.