MELTDOWN: Vegan Cheese Taste Test

UK Vegan Cheese Selection

11 dairy-free cheeses, one big review. We've got together 11 brands of vegan cheese on sale in the UK and put them to the test - the Veganoo Taste Test. In Part 1 of the test, we see how well they melt, and how they taste hot. Next week we'll be looking at how they compare eaten cold. Pizza is the name of the game for the meltdown test, but which vegan cheese will come out on top...?




Where we could, we got hold of a mozzarella version of the cheese brands, or failing that, a melty version. Cheezly is now only available as a melty version, but Sheese and Vegusto both sell specific melting versions of their cheeses.

We've tried lots of these cheeses before, but to compare them fairly, we needed to cook them all in the same way. We chose pizza because it needs a hot oven. We pre-warmed our fan oven to 210C (410F) and cooked each pizza for 20 minutes. Commercial pizzerias would use far hotter ovens than this, for much shorter times, but that wouldn't replicate home cooking where most of this vegan cheese would be used.

So on with the taste test, in alphabetical order:


CHEEZLY (Mozzarella Style)

Meltability:
Good at high temperatures

Perhaps the most widely available of the vegan cheeses on offer and therefore the most familiar to many of us. Cheezly melts well at the high temperature of our test, but is a little floury. The flavour is mild and good, but not overly authentic as cheese. This british cheese stands up pretty well compared to the new arrivals from overseas.

Meltdown Score: ★★★★☆



JEEZINI (Santi)

Meltability:
Poor, but goes soft at low temperatures

Jeezini slices are identical to Violife slices and are made by Viotros (the makers of Violife). Whilst these slices are excellent cold, and make great cheeseburgers, they don't actually melt. They look and smell and taste like dairy cheese...but don't melt. The score reflects their cheeseburger value.

Meltdown Score: ★★★☆☆



MOZZARISELLA

Meltability:
Simply Excellent

Mozzarisella is an excellent pizza cheese, which melts and doesn't re-solidify too quickly. It isn't starchy or sticky or cloying, just creamy. It doesn't run, or split or burn, just melts. Other vegan cheese makers have a lot to learn from the italian firm Frescolat. Mild but cheesy taste.

Meltdown Score: ★★★★★



SHEESE (Red Cheddar Melty)

Meltability:
Pretty Poor

Sheese is another mainstay of the UK vegan cheese market, but it compares poorly to others on offer here. Sheese is ok cold, but when heated it becomes cloying and gluey to the point where it's barely edible. Starchy, dry and sticky. Overly strong fake cheesy taste. Note: Tesco's own brand cheese is repackaged Sheese.

Meltdown Score: ★☆☆☆☆



SOYATOO VEGGIE DELIGHT (Gouda)

Meltability:
It doesn't melt. At all.

No, we haven't made a mistake, that pizza really has been in the oven. Soyatoo market their 'Veggie Delight' as a cheese for gratins and pizzas but don't believe the spiel. This stuff just dries out rather than melts and is really cloying when eaten hot. The taste isn't pleasant either.

Meltdown Score: ★☆☆☆☆



TEESE (Mozzarella)

Meltability:
Good, but needs high temperatures

We've reviewed Teese previously and found it doesn't melt at lower oven temperatures, but melts under the grill (broiler). In our pizza test with a hot oven, it melts pretty well and even goes stretchy. It's fairly creamy and smooth while hot, but goes a bit rubbery as it cools. Mild cheesy taste.

Meltdown Score: ★★★★☆



TOFUTTI (Mozzarella Style)

Meltability:
Good, but quickly cools hard

Tofutti melts well at high temperatures, but within minutes of being out of the oven it goes hard and stiff and forms a monolithic mat of cheese on top of your pizza. The taste is quite 'off' but not in a good way like a stinky cheese, just unpleasant.

Meltdown Score: ★★☆☆☆



VEGANIC (Pizza Cheese)

Meltability:
Not great

We had high hopes for this Veganic pizza cheese, which arrived from the company with a sample of the Violife (which we loved). It does melt, but in a funny way, with the bottom oozing and the top going crispy. It's a little cloying too. The taste is buttery, but the texture is a let down.

Meltdown Score: ★★☆☆☆



VEGERELLA (Cheddar Style)

Meltability:
Badly behaved

Vegerella is the oddest behaving of the cheeses we tested. The top of the cheese went crispy and hard, while the bottom melted so completely it actually ran off the pizza like a slick of oil. The liquid part is liable to burn your mouth if you catch a hidden pool of it. The crispy bit is sticky and cloying and the taste is unpleasant.

Meltdown Score: ★☆☆☆☆



VEGOURMET NO CHEESE (Bianco)

Meltability:
Not good

Vegourmet doesn't really melt, but goes soft and oozy underneath while staying as shreds on top. (The orange in the photo was from a slick of the Vegerella oil from the adjacent pizza that ran over). Starchy and cloying, with a taste very similar to Sheese when cooked. Not good.

Meltdown Score: ★★☆☆☆



VEGUSTO NO MOO (Melty)

Meltability:
Poor

Vegusto produce this special melty version of their No Moo cheese, so we were hoping it would perform well. Sadly, it's not good at all with a powdery, cloying texture. No Moo barely melts, just softening with the heat. The taste, which is pleasant cold, is less good hot.

Meltdown Score: ★★☆☆☆



Round Up:

With eleven cheeses in our taste test, it's surprising that just three of them are worthy of our recommendation for a melty vegan cheese. MozzaRisella is the clear winner of our meltdown test, followed by Teese and then Cheezly. It's worth repeating that Jeezini (and Violife) are very good for cheeseburgers, but not for pizza. 

Part 2:

NOW LIVE: <CLICK HERE>

In Part 2 of the taste test we look at which of these cheeses are best eaten cold, on a cheeseboard or just on a cheese sandwich. 




Don't forget to vote for us in the Best Vegan Blogger category of the VegFest Awards 2013!....  click here to vote

Footnote: Ingredients
Here are the ingredients panels from the packs we reviewed.

Cheezly Ingredients

Jeezini Ingredients

MozzaRisella Ingredients

Sheese Ingredients

SoyaToo Ingredients

Teese Ingredients

Tofutti Ingredients

Veganic Ingredients

Vegerella Ingredients

Vegourmet Ingredients

Vegusto Ingredients


Web: veganoo.net   Twitter: @veganoo   Facebook: fb.com/veganoo.net   Flickr: veganoo


22 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such useful, detailed reviews of all these cheeses!

    Its particularly brilliant for someone like me who lives outside of London and doesn't have the opportunity to just pop into a store to pick up a cheese but has to mail order them instead!

    Based on your previous Mozzarisella review I ordered from their website. We received the three Mozzarisella cheeses this morning and everything you said about them is true.

    My 3 year old boy with severe food allergies (to over 20 foods including dairy and soy) had his first ever pizza today and he loved it!

    Thanks again for the work you've put into putting these reviews together!

    http://allergickids.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the thanks...and for taking time to comment! MozzaRisella is a revelation!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I ated once the mozzarisella with a caprese recipe.
    it tasted like NH3...
    terrible.
    maybe it's better putted on pizza. but the taste don't change so much, I think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ate*
      doesn't change *
      sorry for my english, I'm italian and I don't speak/write english very well.

      Delete
  4. No problems with your English. Maybe you Italians have very high expectations for cheese... but compared to other vegan cheeses MozzaRisella is amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I didn't think much of the Mozzarisella actually. I didn't find it to melt at all and didnt taste of anything. Maybe I'll try it again.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Vegan cheese in general doesn't melt at 180C, which is a common cooking temperature in many recipes. Try above 200C and the results are better. MozzaRisella has a very mild taste, but it's the creamy melty texture that stands out as being so much better than the competition. The smokey version has more flavour too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love Mozzarisella on Pizza, on seitan. Mozzarisella is awesome vegan cheese!
    Thank you for this review!
    i'm Italian ;)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Haven't tried the MozzaRisella, but may have to order some now! I wasn't impressed last time I tried cheezly, but then again I had the cheddar style so may have to give the mozzarella style a whizz.

    I was disappointed with the veganic pizza cheese too asfter all the hype. I found if you pre-made the pizza then popped it in the freezer and cooked later it worked much better. But for me it just didnt taste of anything.

    Violife are apparently soon to release a pizza cheese. I love love love their slices so can't wait for that =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Violife slices are great cold, and also on warm food, like burgers, where they go soft and delicious. They'll need to reformulate to make a pizza cheese though.

      Delete
  9. In response to several comments, we're saying MozzaRisella is a good VEGAN CHEESE, but that doesn't means it's a good CHEESE. If you're a new vegan you might still be disappointed, but for those who've had nothing but soapy vegan cheese for many years, it's a revelation.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for taking the time to do such a comprehensive comparison! Cheezly is my favourite cheese for melting, it melts well and tastes nice. I've tried the Teese mozzarella, it melts well but doesn't taste of much. I will have to give the Mozzarisella a try :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I just wanna mention that Veganic pizza cheese is awesome in toasties. And cheezly melts a bit better if you drizzle it with oil before putting in the oven. I'm pretty loyal to Cheezly cos it's the most readily available to me and it's reasonably priced.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for this cheese review - it's very helpful.

    I'm loyal to Cheezly too because it's the vegan cheese I can buy readily and make toasties with just like in the old days. I add a thin spread of the Meridian marmite spread to the toastie before putting the cheese on and that does it for me taste-wise. I can't wait to try Mozzarisella on pizzas though.

    I must admit I can't remember what dairy cheese tastes like any more but I am sure I wouldn't like the fattiness of it which at least you don't get with vegan cheese.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I will just wait till Daiya comes to the UK! Or until I am willing to spend 80 pounds to import it over!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you're desperate for Daiya, you can find it in the UK - it's the vegan cheese that Amy's use in their dairy free products

      Delete
  14. I recently had some samples of Mozzerisella, and I Loved it! And I'm not normally much of a cheese fan! So sad when I used it all up! It's lovely grilled on top of a slice of fruit toast, with some grilled pears. Yum! Thanks for such an in-depth review! I'll share this with my cheese-mad vegan family :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fruit toast, grilled pears and melting MozzaRisella sounds fantastic!

      Delete
  15. Vegusto Melty cheese is designed to melt in wet dishes (e.g. soups and stews) as that's a common Continental use for cheese. So it might not actually have been the right one to use for pizza.

    ReplyDelete
  16. You need to do a new review of Violife's new block cheeses.

    I think their pizza block is brill on pizza (just don't try to eat it 'raw' *bleurgh* lol.

    I made pizza recently and first grated a little Sheese 'strong cheddar flavour' onto the base (for dded flavour!) and then covered it with a good amount of grated Violife's pizza cheese, and it was great. Melts well in the oven and behaves fairly realistically. Nice taste too.
    Avoid a large 'clump' of it as it can be a bit sticky, but otherwise good.

    Best pizza was one that I also topped with baked beans and had with fries. Was delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great post! Love finding interesting and nutritional vegan cheese guidance. Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes

    ReplyDelete

We love to hear from you! Links to other vegan or related sites are welcome in the comments.

ANONYMOUS COMMENTS ARE CURRENTLY TURNED OFF DUE TO THE AMOUNT OF SPAM WE'RE GETTING.