Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Latest Obsession: Almond Cheese
Cheese is my biggest weakness. We all know that in moderation, it's great for you--full of calcium and protein. But the fat content and tummy-clogging properties means, sadly but truly: mo' cheese, mo' problems.
Last week when I was making the rounds at Wholefoods, something caught my eye in the dairy aisle. You guessed it: almond cheese. I've been wondering if a product like this exists; I'm always interested in dairy alternatives, but soy is too hard for me to digest, and that pretty much only leaves rice products (I'm not generally a fan, but rice milk ice cream and chocolate bars are surprisingly yummy!) So when I discovered that almond cheese is soy-free, very low-fat, and just as high in protein and calcium as regular cheese--and processed minimally without preservatives(!)--I had to give it a try! This "cheese" comes in two flavours: cheddar-style and mozzarella-style; I'm partial to the cheddar, which I added to an open-faced hummus and avocado sandwich--delicious!
The almond cheese I found is made by Lisanatti--a company that makes dairy-alternative cheeses--and is gluten-free, though it DOES contain casein, a milk protein that makes the product unfriendly for vegans and those on a dairy-free diet. Though the package doesn't lie about this cheese being shreddable and tasting great (ok, "pretty good" might be a better description) I take issue with the claim that it melts--when I tried to make cheese toast, I ended up with a weird plasticy substance that stuck to the backs of my teeth.
Almond cheese has a somewhat different texture and flavour than cow's cheese, of course. As long as you don't expect a perfect imitation, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Adding a couple slices to a sandwich or sprinkling some cubes over a salad is the best way to go.