i’ve been hearing a lot of really excellent stuff about sheese lately. it recently hit the US, and people have been trying it and positively bursting with excitement about how delicious it is. i ate A LOT of cheese in my pregan days, so i was pretty jazzed when i found out that i could buy sheese locally.
as i mentioned the other day, we had a little vegan meetup over the weekend, and we decided to include a sheese tasting as part of the festivities. unfortunately for us, the sheese has been flying off the shelves, so we didn’t get to have most of our first-tier flavor choices. heh.
not to be deterred, we bought one of each flavor that they had left in stock: medium cheddar (the only one on our original list of must-haves), gouda, blue, cheshire, and edam. now, i’m going to come right out and say that i don’t believe i’ve ever had any of those cheeses (save cheddar) in my life. i’m not really a fan of "stinky cheese," so i avoided stuff like brie and gouda and all that when i was omni and lacto-ovo (i preferred stuff like swiss, monterey jack, colby, etc.)… so my review of those flavors might not be entirely objective. however! they were still gross.
we bought several different kinds of crackers, and also several different apples to use as palate-cleansers (quick thinking by chris!). i decided to cut just a little bit of each flavor at first; just enough to taste each one, so we could decide what we’d want more of. we arranged them on separate plates with little name badges (since four of the cheeses were white), and got to tasting.
i think we all tasted the medium cheddar first, because it was the one we’d all had pregan experience with, and the one we had all been interested in in the first place. verdict? not great, but not awful. it definitely has a similar "mouth feel" to dairy cheese; it’s more dense than follow your heart (the typical vegan cheese front-runner), and it’s kind of creamy like dairy cheese. the flavor wasn’t fantastic, but it was okay. i could see maybe eating it in a sandwich, or on crackers.
then we moved on to the various white cheeses, grabbing whichever we each felt like. i think i went for the cheshire, others tried blue or gouda. anyway, all of us were pretty "meh" about those (at best). there were a lot of colorful expressions ("this tastes like… something… a jellybean!" "i want this out of my mouth right now." "i need an apple, quick!"), some funny faces, and lots and lots of laughing.
at some point, the first poor sucker tried the edam, and it was HORRIBLE. i think dave tried it first, then chris took a bite of a really small piece, and didn’t even want to finish her piece. she just stood there holding it, pitifully. i said i’d taste a bit of her piece, and JUST as i bit down on it, dave said, "it tastes like clay!!" sadly, he was right. it was horrendous. we decided to use it as a molding compound instead of food, and created a 3-D sad face on the edam plate. later, dave sculpted a little cat out of more edam.
talk turned to follow your heart, and the fact that none of us had really been converted to sheese based on the tasting we’d just endured. we started chatting about meltability, and chris got the idea that we should see if sheese melts. excellent!
we took a very small chunk of cheddar and put it on a cracker, then popped that into the microwave and turned it on for a few seconds. i didn’t see much of a problem with this method, as i had made nachos a few days prior pretty much the same way (with follow your heart cheese). well, it was a Bad Idea. the sheese started crackling and being Entirely Weird and then when we realized it wasn’t melting, we gave up and turned the microwave off after about 30 seconds. the sheese had turned to stone, basically, and had burnt the cracker. it was cemented to the cracker, with little scorch marks all around the base. we cracked it open and it was like petrified lava inside. we were a delightful combination of speechless and doubled-over with laughter.
needless to say, i never had to cut ANY more sheese after the initial round of tasting. we stuck to apples and crackers and pita chips. later i tried to make it up to them by giving them a "milk" chocolate tasting (terra nostra ricemilk choco vs. organica swiss ricemilk couverture), and i think that helped. heh.
to sum up: i would probably still give the mozzarella sheese a try at some point, and possibly the cheddar & chives, but i don’t really see myself buying any of the others. it was good to try them, just to say i’d tried them, but i (sadly) don’t see what all the fuss is about. i have an entire wheel and a half of the cheddar in my fridge (i bought an extra, assuming i’d love it!), so i guess i’ll be experimenting with that. i have no idea what i’ll do with the others. sorry, sheese!