For as long as I have known about Miyoko Schinner’s fine vegan cheeses (officially called cultured nut products) I have had a romance with them. I met Miyoko in the summer of 2013 at an organized Bay Area vegan wine and cheese tour through the Sonoma County wine country in Northern California. Miyoko brought her then homemade fermented artisan cheese to the event and everyone in the group was swooning, myself included. Though I’d like to say that the highlight of the event was tasting the vegan wine, it was the cheese that remains forever in my memory.
It wasn’t long after the event that I started to hear a buzz around the vegan community that Miyoko’s cheeses may one day become available to the masses. That day arrived just a few short months ago when Miyoko’s Kitchen was created. Miyoko Schinner, a longtime vegan chef, author public speaker and cooking class instructor has had a love of cheese from the time she was young and living in Japan. She wrote perhaps her most well-known cookbook Artisan Vegan Cheese last year and it’s been a hit amongst even the most amateur non-dairy cheese lovers like me.
But back to the cheese…
How do I really feel about Miyoko’s creations? I loved it the moment I tried it and I think my lust grows deeper by the second. There’s vegan cheese, and then there’s Miyoko’s cheese. Period. End of story. While I have really enjoyed over other vegan cheeses, nothing remotely resembles the level of quality that is Miyoko’s Kitchen. The cheeses aren’t even in the same class or category as the other vegan cheeses I have tried. What makes Miyoko’s so tasty and unique? These cheeses are artisan style. They are aged, are rich and full of robust flavors, not something that you’d enjoy in excess. They are made from cultured cashews and are created using similar practices to traditional dairy cheeses.
On to the review…
There are 9 + vegan cheeses available for purchase online at Miyoko’s Kitchen and I was gifted a sampling of five (the Harvest Collection which is a mix of soft and hard cheeses sure to please any tastebuds) to review. All cheeses are non-dairy, organic, free of eggs, cholesterol as well as gluten and are non-GMO.
Classic Double Cream Chive ~
This cheese is described as having a buttery, savory, mild herbal garlic flavor. It’s the crowd pleaser enjoyed by everyone from kids to sophisticated foodies. It’s delicious on crackers or as a tasty sandwich spread. This cheese was one of my favorites. It has a very distinct creamy sour cream and chive flavor. I think it would be amazing served on a toasted bagel!
Double Cream Sundried Tomato Garlic ~
This cheese is described as creamy, and robust with deep Mediterranean flavors and is best eaten on crackers or melted on pasta. To me, this particular cheese tasted like pizza sauce and was reminiscent of those pizza bagels I used to eat in my childhood, but a more upscale version of course. It’s creamy, moist and has a lot of intense sun dried tomato flavor. One of my favorites for sure!
High Sierra Rustic Alpine ~
This was the most dry of the cheese I sampled. I loved it! And seeing as though I live in the “High Sierras” it really spoke to me. It’s described as a semi-hard cheese with sweet overtones and a buttery finish. Miyoko suggests serving with fruit, as a fondue or in risotto. I loved the slight tinge of smokey flavor; a lovely semi-dry cheese, but not too dry.
Fresh Loire Valley (in a fig leaf) ~
Aren’t figs known as the fruit of the gods? This cheese certainly makes you feel like one that’s for sure! This 8 ounce round is described as soft, fresh and aromatic, perfectly paired with fruit and crackers. I thought this was the most mild of the collection. It has an almost cream cheese texture with a slight tangy zest and a dry finish. And the fig leaf? It’s edible and soaked in wine!
French Style Winter Truffle ~
Hold your horses truffle and stinky cheese lovers! While the French Style Winter Truffle cheese likely isn’t for everyone because of its distinct smokey almost fishy taste, it was by far my very favorite. It reminds me so much of my favorite stinky cheeses I used to enjoy while traveling in Europe. This cheese is described as elegant, woodsy and earthy in a cream base and best enjoyed on crackers, in pasta or risotto. I simply couldn’t get enough of this cheese, it was the overall winner for me even though I honestly loved them all. I love truffle flavor more than any other flavor and I was really drawn to the stinky cheese factor!
I had a wine and cheese party a couple weeks ago and served up Miyoko’s rounds with grapes, apples, crackers as well as bread. To put it mildly, the cheese was a huge hit. Though I haven’t been as adventuresome, I have heard that the cheeses can be used in non-traditional ways such as in dishes like vegan Mac n’ Cheese (OMG!) or as a topping on a baked potato (I MUST try that!) and other such creative splendors. Visit www.miyokoskitchen.com for more recipe ideas.
Overall, I am over-the-top beyond impressed with all five flavors that I sampled (and I cannot wait to try the others!). Miyoko has hit it out of the park with her incredible creations that are sure to please even the dairy cheese lover’s palate. The attention to detail, from the packaging to the taste, is impeccable. Even the price point is something to appreciate (because the cheeses are so rich they last longer than your everyday cheese, and we all know that a good cheese gets better with age, so spending an average of $11.00 per round is well worth it!). If you’re trying Miyoko’s for the first time, I suggest ordering several and serving them up for the holidays to your friends and family, especially to dairy loving cheese connoisseurs. Visit the Miyoko’s Kitchen online shop to place your order.
Be sure to stay updated on all the happenings with Miyoko’s Kitchen (including those limited edition and seasonal cheeses) by visiting and following:
Miyoko’s Kitchen website: www.miyokoskitchen.com/
Miyoko’s Kitchen Facebook page: www.facebook.com/miyokoskitchen
Miyoko’s Kitchen Twitter page: www.twitter.com/MiyokosKitchen
Happy (holiday) cheese tasting everyone. Yeehaw!
All photos courtesy of Patrick Durr