The Mythical Daiya Cheese
Vegans here in Toronto have been all a flutter (or should I say all a twitter?) about Daiya over the past few months. So what’s Daiya?
Daiya is a company that produces two kinds of vegan ‘cheese’ products that look, smell, melt and taste a lot like cheese. No, really, they do! Even Rich, who has been mostly skeptical of the various ‘cheese’ products I’ve tried over the last year, really likes Daiya ‘cheeses’ and says they taste convincingly like the real thing. Lucky for me and all the other gluten-sensitive folks out there, Daiya’s products are also gluten-free. They’re also free of many other allergens, like soy and nuts.
Up until recently, you could only get Daiya products in some restaurants and at some American health food stores, which purchased the products in large quantities and then repackaged them for resale. That’s how we got our hands on some; Panacea on Bloor just west of Bathurst started purchasing them in late February. They got what they figured would be a six week supply for the store, only to find eager vegans snapped it up so quickly they were out of stock in five days!
The first time we picked it up, we got the Italian Blend, which Daiya has now renamed Mozzarella Style Shreds. We used it to make a pizza, which is of course the most obvious use for it! As you can see from the photos, the pizza turned out great. The product really does melt and really does stretch, much like real cheese. I would also happily use the product in place of mozzarella or other mild cheeses in cooking – it would be delicious in any baked pasta, sprinkled on top of vegetables, or melted into a sandwich.
More recently I picked up some of the Cheddar Style Shreds, which I’ve been using in Mexican food (quesadillas and the like). It is also excellent and very cheddar-like. I bet it would be awesome as a topping for nachos!
Fortunately for all the vegans out there, Daiya has now started packaging their product for sale to consumers, and should eventually be available in select grocery stores all over North America.
In Toronto and want some? As mentioned, Panacea has it in stock now. They’re a great vegan shop and well worth heading to anyway – they have a wide selection of vegan and eco-friendly products. But if you’re on the other side of the Don Valley, you can try looking for it at The Big Carrot – Daiya’s website lists them as one of their retailers.
Outside of Toronto? Just try searching for a retailer near you.