It’s time to address a sensitive, taboo, untouchable topic: cheese.
Comments about cheese are the most usual ones I get when I am talking about veganism with my friends and relatives: “But how can you NOT eat cheese?”, “And the French raclette?”, “But cheese though!”.
And last but not least, the one that makes me smile the most: “I could never become vegan, I love cheese too much”… And you know why? Because I remember saying that exact same sentence only a few months ago.
From cheese lover…
I remember that moment very well, without being able to explain why. It was in early April, or maybe in late March. I was still living in Australia at that time, in Brisbane, and I was welcoming for a few days Negin, met on CouchSurfing, who was hitting the road from Cairns to Melbourne. We went out to Merriweather cafe for a brunch (by the way, if you are going to Brisbane one day, I strongly recommend you this place), and among other topics, we talked about vegetarianism and veganism. At that time, I had no clue I would become vegan a few months later. My shift in consciousness had not happened yet.
And I remember that precise moment. I can still see myself, facing my avocado-mushroom-halloumi cheese toast, saying with a smile on my face “I could never become vegan, I love cheese too much”.
And yet. As my mum would say, “never say never”.
Let me give you a brief reminder of the context. I was born in this beautiful Northern French region still called at that time Nord Pas-de-Calais. Born in Flanders and raised in Artois, I grew up at the heart of a land perfumed with the fragrance of Maroilles cheese pie and of melting cheddar from our renowned dish called Welsh. I enjoyed for years and years pasta with parmesan, pesto, summer salads made of tomato and mozzarella, raclettes and warm goat cheese toasts. You got it, I was far from thinking it could be possible to live without this ingredient synonym for me of culinary heritage and delight. And yet. I stopped eating cheese overnight.
… To vegan
It’s been five months now. When I turned vegan, I thought I would have to do without the taste of cheese. But that was not a big deal compared to the amount of suffering imposed upon dairy cows. What I didn’t know is that it is actually possible to eat cheese while being vegan (life is full of surprises, isn’t it?)! Of course, it is not cheese as it is still generally understood in our society. You need to accept taste and texture to be slightly different – and when I say different, I don’t necessarily mean “not as good as”. Just different. Even though some vegan cheese recipes are very similar in taste to traditional cheese.
At first glance, one could believe that vegan cheese is just a processed alternative full of additives and flavour enhancers necessary to imitate the true taste of traditional cheese. That’s at least what I believed at the beginning. I was imagining something made in laboratories based on palm oil, such as the cheese preparation in frozen pizzas… Well, no! It is possible to make your own vegan cheese, only with natural and organic ingredients, and I can tell you it’s very-very easy. And very-very simple. And very-very cruelty-free.
So, why not giving it a try? Let’s be curious and creative 🙂 In that previous article, I explained you how to make vegan parmesan at home. And the recipe I used to make the cheese displayed on the picture below is inspired from the roasted cheese recipe from Antigone XXI blog (in French only). Ok, I have to admit it does not look very beautiful and tasty, but I swear it’s deliciousssss. If you need more inspiration, just make a quick search on your browser and you’ll find hundreds of recipes!
Finally, when thinking about it, I realize that I actually cook vegan cheese quite rarely. Because I don’t miss cheese taste that much. It has become an occasional pleasure, more appreciable. No ingredient is irreplaceable nor indispensable when it comes to taste. And do not forget that vegan cooking is everything but sad: it’s rather an open window on a beautiful world of compassion and creation.
Have you tried yet homemade vegan cheese? Let me know 🙂 ♥