grilled daiya with tomato on sourdough, lime roasted brussel sprots
adventures with daiya: the first in a series of musings on vegan cheese.
The excitement of a new vegan cheese hitting the market cues nondairy lovin' drooling, eyerolls and quite possibly more hype than a red carpet event. I'm usually guilty of all three of these reactions.
I mean, holy crap, this cheese won the VegNews Product of the Year endorsement. If anyone knows vegan products, it's the VegNews staff, right? Totally. Last year, they awarded the title to Dr. Cow's Nut Cheese. It's their duty to be on top of these things and that rules.
I've tried Daiya a handful of times now, and can only say I actually enjoyed it once.
I think it's super great that it's:
a) a new vegan cheese
c) um, becoming available everywhere
d) being embraced by the public, including restaurants & chains, faster than any nondairy cheese before (seems like it!)
e) specifically, available for bulk purchase through the Food Fight! store in Portland
f) melty, or something that resembles melting
It's been openly available in the US since Spring '09, and so many East Coast and California vegan bloggers seemed to be loving it. That is, until I noticed one vegan friend mention they didn't like it. I was shocked, even the processed vegan cheese haters seemed to be down. I highly respected this person's culinary opinion, and my anticipation to try it grew into sheer curiosity.
I finally tried Daiya while in Laguna Beach, CA from zpizza, and returned to see it hit Food Fight's fridge. I'll talk more about my zpizza experience as soon as I locate my photos of that pizza - but know this, I despised it. I had to double check it was actually Daiya, and told myself it had to be a fluke.
It reminded me of a stick-to-your-mouth, coat-your-teeth, get-it-away experience I had with rice cheese at Seattle's Pizza Pi a few years ago (under previous, previous management, I'm told). I didn't like the Italian blend melted, and I didn't like it firmed, and the taste...I didn't hate the taste, but I didn't love it. But, I'm not desperate for a soy-free vegan cheese, or a new vegan cheese, I'm just excited and curious.
I'm used to the buttery Follow Your Heart, Teese and Tofutti singles, and Daiya channels something different. Cheddar Daiya really seems to go the Velveeta look and taste route. I was looking forward to the zpizza and falling in love with the best vegan cheese ever, and I didn't. I hyped myself too hard.
Anyway, since then, I've tried it a few more times. I truly enjoyed it from the Savor Soup House cart downtown, pictured below. Nancy knows grilled cheese...
You can see how this one achieves a level of gooey-ness mine did not.
My grilled cheese at the very top didn't achieve this goo, and I suppose I should give it another go with cheddar. I know this is all so ridiculous, but it's an adventure. I think it wanted a little more time to melt, because the one at the top became........fluffy. And I'm not saying that in a delicious way.
- I'm a vegan cheese supporter, and I'm trying to like this one, a second time.
- I think this might be a great vegan cheese for new vegans to try.
- Maeve says I should try it over pasta, so I will.
- I thought the Cheddar was almost vile on nachos.
- Both Native Bowl & Whiffies have had specials involving Daiya, that I've yet to try. I feel left out of a vegan craze.
- Every time I come across a random vegan on the internet stating they dislike it, it makes me feel a little less alone.
I ask you, what's your take on Daiya? What's the tastiest way you've experienced it?