By Polly Fossey
I was skeptical of Miyoko’s Kitchen roster of “cheeses” and “butter.” For one thing, I try to avoid processed and packaged foods and for another, I am not a vegan. But perusing Miyoko Schinner’s product offering is enticing. She gives her wares poetic names such as “High Sierra Rustic Alpine” and “Mount Vesuvius Black Ash.” The packaging is charming and the “cheese” in the photos looks beautiful and delicious. Descriptions accompanying the photos promise umami and melty goodness- just like the real thing.
You certainly can’t claim that this isn’t processed food. After all, you have to put a coconut or a cashew through some kind of process to come up with wheel of what looks like aged farmhouse cheddar. There are even some of the familiar ingredients seen in more traditional processed food. Soy lecithin gave me pause, but Miyoko’s products also list some less common ingredients such as agar, chickpea miso, koji spores and cultures. I start to imagine a sort of mad scientist’s lab with bubbling pots of pungent, fermented goo. Sure, a lot of it seems a bit mysterious, but franklythe process of making dairy cheeses has always seemed a bit mysterious as well. How many of us really know how they make the stinkiest of the French cheeses andwho can explain why something that appears to be a smelly, moldy mess is sodelicious? Some how or another, Miyoko is creating rich complex flavors. I say, let’sgive her vegan cultured nut products a fair chance! We may not completely understand them, but they sure are tasty!
Editors note: As a vegan, I can vouch that the co-op’s new Miyoko’s Kitchen Dairy Products are delicious, especially if you’ve been craving something with a little more complexity than your Daiya shreds. Try the spreadable Fresh VeganMozz on a Way Better Snacks Cracker with a sprig of fresh basil and a slice of halve of cherry tomato.