I never thought I could be converted. Nut-based cheese imitations have been, for most of human history, absolute trash. But then I discovered a product called Kite Hill, and, I know this sounds crazy, but I literally believed this stuff was real cheese for three weeks.
Kite Hill, and the equally excellent Treeline, set themselves apart because the nuts are ground to the point of absolute smoothness and then introduced to cultures just like actual cheese. The result is a beautiful substance that I actually prefer to cream cheese.
I know what you’re thinking: “Great Henry, you found an acceptable replacement for cream cheese, which is barely a type of cheese. You’ll have to pry my cheddar from my cold, dead hands.”
I fully admit that there is no replacement for brie on baguette or aged gouda on a cracker. In those situations, you are eating the cheese to experience the peerless complexity of its flavor.
But much of the time, cheese is replaceable. Sure, it adds richness to the veggies on your sandwich, and it builds a bridge between the beans and salsa in a burrito. But in those situations, the actual flavor profile of the cheese is entirely minimized. You think that you need the cheese, but you really just need the fat.
Nut cheese can supply the fat we need. After all, it is pretty much a distillation of the fat present in nuts. Nut cheese alone on a cracker may not impress you, but mixed with other flavors—in a saucy enchilada or hefty lasagna—it is indistinguishable from the real thing. And it’s way healthier.
So the next time you’re making a meal and you want to cast dairy in a supporting role, think seriously about what nut cheese can do for you. ∎