Vegan wine and cheese night. That’s not a set of words you often hear together. But vegan cheeses are becoming tastier and more mainstream, and us vegan winos want a part of the cheesy social action. I suppose I could have just sat at home with a bottle of something, scooping Tofutti cream cheese out of the tub with a spoon, but I wanted to aim a bit higher.
My non-vegan friends took a bit of convincing about the ‘cheese’, but the promise of lots of wine soon won them over. The result: a really well received, enjoyable night of tasty vegan wine and, well, vegan cheese (which I mostly love, but sometimes it’s the sort of love that only a mother can give an ugly baby).
There was a great selection of fourteen vegan wines to sample and judge. Eight were provided by organic wine vendor Vinceremos, and I bought six more from Majestic – there’s a vegan filter on their website which is wonderful.
We also had ten vegan cheeses! I made two of them myself, and the rest were store-bought, with samples from Cheezly, Sheese, Vegusto and more.
Our favourite white wine of the evening was the Terre Siciliane, Inzolia 2010. Citrusy and fresh, a bit herby, it’s definitely a crowd pleaser. Our favourite red was the Châteuneuf-du-Pape, Cuvée des Antiques 2012. I can see why people love it. Super easy to drink, low in tannins and just a bit spicy.
The wine least enjoyed by my guests was a Merlot. I think I was the only one that truly liked it. I ended up with the bottle at the end of the night, which was fine by me.
It was highly gratifying when my home-made cheeses were voted the best in the room that night. I’d served up a cashew-based truffle and chive cheese, and a fiery pistachio, chili and thyme spread. Vegusto’s Piquant was top of the store-bought options, and was almost gone by the end of the night, but their No-Muh Classic was at the bottom of our list, mainly because people said it didn’t taste of anything much. Looks as if my guests were the kind of people who like a bit of spice!
For the record, here’s our Top Ten:
1. Truffle and chives cashew cheese
2. Pistachio, chili and lime spread
3. Vegusto Piquant
4. Vegusto No-Muh Walnut
5. Violife Cheddar
6. Sheese Garlic and Herb cream cheese
7. Tofutti Garlic and Herb cream cheese
8. Cheezly White Cheddar
8. Cheezly Red Cheddar
9. Cheezly Edam
10. Vegusto No-Muh Classic
It was a great night. For once, those of us who knew about wine didn’t feel as if we were being ‘wine snobs’ by talking about it – everyone discussed what they liked and disliked, and the cheeses were a great conversation point. So have a go at a vegan wine and cheese night – you might break down some out-dated barriers about wine, cheese and veganism.
By Karen Simmons.