As most vegans know, one of the hardest things for people on the vegan path is to give up cheese. For many people, when they hear that I follow a plant based diet, the second question they ask is, “but how did you give up cheese?” (The first question is always, “where do you get your protein?” Always.)
I understand. I was one of them. I loved cheese. I loved it on pizza, on quesadillas, on potatoes. Hot, melty, delicious cheese. Years ago, when Alan and I visited France, I discovered the joy of freshly baked bread with cheese. I loved cheese with crackers. Cheddar with apples. Nachos.
But, that was then. Now, I have made the choice to abstain from animal products and that obviously includes cheese. I assumed that it meant that I would never again enjoy the creamy smoothness of a good brie, or the buttery, nutty flavor of Havarti again. I was wrong.
Daiya, already well known (at least in my world) as the creators of cheddar, mozzarella, and pepper jack flavors of shredded “cheese” that tastes delicious and melts like the real thing, recently came out with new products designed to satisfy the cheese urges of vegans everywhere. Daiya Wedges come in three flavors, cheddar, papper jack, and jalapeno garlic Havarti. I picked up a package of the Havarti the other day to give it a try.
Daiya cheeses have no whey, casein, or eggs, so they are vegan. They also have no soy, gluten, peanuts or other tree nuts, and they are produced in their own factory to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination with allergens. The shreds melt, stretch and taste just like real cheese. But what about the wedges?
I found the Daiya Havarti at Clark’s. While I was there I also bought some vegan crackers on which to try the cheese. I was a little excited, so in this first picture above, I was in my car, before cross country practice. That tided me over for a couple hours.
When I got home, I sliced a few radishes, sliced a little onion, and tossed in a little parsley and basil leaves. Oh, and I poured a glass of wine (in my Drink Pink glass, which, sadly, has since been broken).
The next night I had a brilliant idea. Dinner was leftover tempeh patties. What better than to melt a little Havarti on top?
My opinion of of Daiya Havarti? Frankly, I loved it. I felt like I was eating a “fancy” cheese for the first time in ages. It was flavorful, slight spicy with the jalepeno and garlic. The texture was creamy and, as you can see in the picture above, it melted beautifully.
My final thoughts? If you are vegan and occasionally have an urge for cheese, Daiya of any variety is a good option. If you are highly addicted to cheese, give this Havarti a try. It might surprise you. I look forward to trying the other flavors of Daiya wedges.
Disclosure: There is no disclosure. I was not compensated or rewarded in any way for this review. These opinions are entirely my own. I just love Daiya cheese!