Although there are many good meat replacements on the market, a decent dairy-free cheese can be tough to come by -- and you can forget about a cheese memorable enough to pair with a glass of wine. Daphne Medina, creator of Door 86 Vegan Cheese, to the rescue. She's accomplishd the impossible, as those who sampled her wares at recent Neat Markets can attest.
Medina makes all the cheese (and the products to create the cheese, mostly derived from cashew cream) herself by hand. "I see vegan cheese as a blank canvas of sorts, and I like to play around with interesting combinations of flavors and/or textures," she says. "Some work, some don't."
All of the cheeses in the photo above more than worked; they include vegan brie, Camembert, sharp cheddar, sriracha cheddar, blueberry Stilton, pink salt chevre, black salt chevre, stinky blue-green and raw herbed cheeses. Be warned, vegans: After so long without cheese, it can be hard not to go overboard on Medina's creations. This batch didn't last nearly as long as it should have -- particularly the raw herbed creation, which was creamy, tangy and obsession-sparking. Medina also makes vegan cream cheese, meltable spicy Jack cheese and many more.
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Inspired by the speakeasy culture (the name "Door 86" is a speakeasy reference; Medina's great-uncle sold bootleg whisky and moonshine in rural Tennessee), Medina has only recently gone legit. You can order some of the cheeses on her website, http://door86.blogspot.com.