One of the hardest parts of becoming a vegan is dropping the cheese and most vegan cheeses don’t quite hit the spot but they’re pretty good. Christmas in the past was a cheese lovers dream in this house so having none this year was looking disappointing. But last night I had the chance to try the new Violife Christmas Dairy Free Platter and here are my thoughts.
Why Is Dropping Cheese So Hard?
It’s understandable when you actually look into the science behind cheese, the fact it’s 70% fat and has a similar effect on your brain as cocaine making it extremely addictive. All the fat and salt play havoc with your taste receptors and before you know it you’ve eaten an entire cheese board.
I understand it, we used to be like that – especially Aaron.
The first time we went vegan we jumped on all the fake products without giving our systems the chance to properly flush out the dairy-based rubbish. Leaving us unconvinced and let down by everyone telling us how amazing Gary (Sainsbury’s dairy-free cheese) was and it just didn’t deliver.
Our Current Favourites
This time around, we gave our bodies the chance to adapt and can now quite happily put away most types of dairy-free cheeses. Some of our favourites include Tesco’s Soy Cream Cheese which tastes like a good quality cream cheese, Sainsbury’s Garlic & Herb Cream Cheese (I can put that away like nobody’s business), Sainsbury’s Grated Cheddar which we’ve discovered is great on pizza and Violife’s slices which are a big hit with Eban.
So when this beauty popped up in one of the vegan groups I’m in I knew I had to head to Sainsbury’s to grab one to try, and obviously review for you all.
Violife Christmas Dairy Free Platter
We picked ours up in Sainsbury’s for £5.50, I haven’t seen it featured at any other stores (it isn’t online at Tesco, Morrison’s or Waitrose). You get three 150g blocks of cheese; a blue cheese style one, a cranberry one and a mature cheddar version. They come individually wrapped so you can enjoy them one at a time if you can restrain yourself.
They’re coconut oil based and free from dairy, soya, gluten, lactose and nuts. They all contain added B-12. For a full list of ingredients see the Sainsbury’s website.
Violife is a staple cheese as I’ve mentioned before, its a favourite of Ebans. The slices are perfect for his lunches and they’re ok on a veggie burger. The regular Violife, in my opinion, is like a mild cheddar or Edam. Slightly rubbery with a hint of coconut but tastes nicer than I make that sound. I’m happy to smother a slice in relish and munch it on its own.
So, I’ll break down each flavour with my opinion and also what Aaron thought when he tried them.
This is the yellow block of cheese and to me, the most disappointing. I was hoping for a stronger flavour but in my opinion, it tasted pretty similar to the regular Violife cheese. On the other hand, Aaron thought it tasted stronger and really liked it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still happily demolish the whole block but I was hoping for something stronger.
Cranberry After Dinner
This is the pink block of cheese. Now this one was confusing. When you bite into it your brain convinces you that it should crumble, like a Wensleydale but it doesn’t. It’s a smooth cheese with cranberry pieces in it. We both felt it was nicer than Sainsbury’s Wensleydale even though that one crumbles like you’d expect it to. Both Aaron and I really enjoyed this and it was the all-round favourite.
The whiter block of cheese though it does have a slight blue tinge. As soon as you open the packet you get a whiff of stinky blue cheese and before you’ve taken a bite you can taste it. Personally, I liked this one though the texture was a little strange and I don’t know how to explain it. It does taste like a mild blue cheese but it is soft, unlike the other two and melts in your mouth rather than having to chew.
Aaron didn’t like this one at all and he was a stinky cheese lover pre-vegan. He commented that it might be better on something or in a sauce but it wasn’t pleasant to him on his Ryvita.
Well, it’s a hard one. In all honesty, you’d have to try it to know whether you’d like it and my advice is if you like the regular Violife then you’ll probably enjoy at least two of these cheeses. I enjoyed all three, the cranberry being the one I liked the most. I’m not sure if we’ll buy it again for Christmas because it’s not worth it with Aaron not liking the Blu so I’m going to continue to hunt for Christmas cheese while I have 5 weeks left.
Do you recommend any brands? We’ve tried the Sainsbury’s flavoured ones and they didn’t impress us too much. Leave any questions in the comments and I’ll try my best to answer them.
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