Just Say Vegan Cheese, please. As we enter the New Year and face all the resolutions we like to make around eating better, more and more people are ditching dairy, leaving it off their plate, out of their diet and adapting a greener and leaner lifestyle. Organic, artisanal cheese maker, Jodi Paige of Virgin Cheese, is at the helm of this movement locally in Las Vegas, producing traditionally cultured cashew-milk based cheeses that are worthy of fine dining. Virgin Cheese is being served up in local restaurants, shipped to both coasts and making their debut in Verde Valley winery tasting rooms in Sedona and Jerome, AZ.
Whether lactose intolerant, paleo or prefer the plant-based lifestyle, folks are finding out the truth about dairy. Research continues to show that 70-80% of the world population is lactose intolerant. We are just used to feeling bad! Now, unfortunately, we are also used to getting sick. The growing rates of childhood obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol and cancer have people taking more control of their eating habits and leaning towards organic fruits and vegetables. As the plant-based community grows world-wide, people now realize it is easier to give up meat, than cheese.
Everyone says they are “addicted” to cheese – that they can’t give up their cheese – and there’s a reason for that. Dairy milk is now being linked to cancer due to the protein, casein. CASEIN contains CASOMORPHINES - that are designed to be ADDICTING – casomorphins help strengthen the bond between a mother cow and calf…and take that calf from being a newborn to 800 pounds in a year. In addition to being casein-free, plant based cheeses are also cholesterol and cruelty-free, promoting a healthier body and mind; knowing you’re not contributing to an industry where standard practices include separating newborn calves from their mother’s milk and shipping those calves off to veal crates, livestock auctions or death.
Cheese Boards featuring decadent and delicious, organic, cashew milk-based Virgin Cheese are served at both Vegenation restaurant locations in downtown Las Vegas and Henderson, soon to be served at Panacea in Boca Park and over at Eatt Gourmet Bistro on W. Sahara in Las Vegas, French chefs are utilizing fresh cashew milk mozzarella, goat cheese style Chevre and Brie from Virgin Cheese. Virgin Cheese prides itself on being a small batch cheese maker, where they can respond to chef innovations, seasonal influences and the changing marketplace. Current top sellers include Bleu, Brie, Feta, Lemon Dill, Pepper Jack, Shallot Truffle, Smoked Gouda and Sriracha Cheddar.
Virgin Cheese also hosts Ditchin’ Dairy Demos, showing people how to blend thick cashew cream into coffee creamer, yogurt, cream cheese and sour cream. Check out their website at virgincheese.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for upcoming demo dates.
Jodi Paige is thrilled to bring decadent, traditionally cultured, organic, artisanal cashew-milk based Virgin Cheese to the marketplace; to the locals in Las Vegas and on to Sedona, Phoenix, Seattle, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania. You can find Virgin Cheese sold daily at The Market urban grocery on Fremont & 7th, across from Container Park in Las Vegas and at Panacea in Boca Park in Summerlin, at ChocolaTree in Sedona, AZ, at Vegan Haven in Seattle, Orchard Grocer in NYC, Firefly Café and Outpost in Boyertown, PA, Ave Mrkt in Storyville, OH and world-wide shipping is available via Vegan Essentials, an online vegan grocer. Cellar 433 in Jerome, AZ and Winery 1912 will soon offer top flavors seasonally, as well.
The Humble Cashew -
Health Issues Cashews May Prevent
© Susan Shek
By Alicia Kennedy Posted January 01, 2016
Get in on the ground floor of the nut cheese revolution.
Once upon a time, the vegan section of the dairy aisle was more or less a joke, stocked with plastic packets of rubbery, oily, starch-filled "cheeze"—a dubious word that appropriately conveyed just how short it fell compared to its melty, gooey, dairy-born parent. But times have changed. Nut cheese has reached new heights, in part because the people making it are increasingly using the same processes as dairy farmers: taking nuts from almonds to cashews to macadamias, blending them with cultures, and aging them to make spreadable cream cheeses, aged hard cheeses and everything in between.
“Until recently, only raw foodists made vegan cheeses—and they did it in very simple ways,” saysMiyoko Schinner, author of Artisan Vegan Cheeseand owner of the Miyoko’s Kitchen line. “But recently the amount of vegan cheese on the market has skyrocketed.”
"In the next few years, vegan cheese is going to go mainstream,” says Jay Astafa, the chef at 3 Brothers Vegan Café in Long Island. He's banking on that possibility; soon, his cashew-based mozzarella, based on a recipe he started developing in 2011, will be available to buy retail. This is not your vegan sister-in-law's plasticky cheeze, Astafa promises. It melts, it browns and it bubbles up on the top of your pizza—just as a cow’s-milk cheese would.
Not that the point of nut cheese is simply to mimic its dairy counterpart. According to Michael Schwarz, who owns the Hudson Valley-based company vegan cheese purveyor Treeline, the idea is to create a product that's delicious in its own right. “If I go to someone who’s not vegan and say, ‘This is brie,’ they’ll taste it and say, ‘It’s not,’" he says. "So I say, ‘This is our cracked pepper nut cheese.’”
For the skeptical brie-lovers out there, rest assured: No one is asking you to give up dairy cheese altogther (not yet, anyway); accepting nut cheese into your life doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. “There are so many kinds of cheeses in the dairy world," says Michaela Grob, owner of Riverdel, Brooklyn’s new nut cheese shop. "Nut cheese is just another variety."
Make 2016 the year you give nut milk cheese a chance!