Like most people in the world, one of my favorite foods preveganism was cheese. I was born just south of the Wisconsin border and grew up with 3 cheese factories within 20 minutes of my house. I can’t tell you how much cheese I’ve eaten, especially during the cheese free – for – all that was the Atkins diet.
However, I’m more informed now, and as much as I miss it, cheese is no longer a part of my diet. I’m a pretty big fan of Daiya, especially in melted applications, like macaroni and cheese, but there’s really no good cold cheese substitute.
The Chao Slices by Field Roast were supposed to be a game changer. I read multiple reviews on them months before we even had the chance to try them and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them. I messaged my local health food store on Facebook asking when they would start carrying them, and I got a reply a day later informing me they’d have them in January 2015. One of the perks of talking with small local owners! They posted on Facebook today that they were finally in, so we of course made a trip there.
Field Roast is known for their amazing vegan meats and deli slices but I think they’re going to be taking a piece of the vegan cheese market. They make the Chao slices in Creamy Original, Coconut Herb, and Tomato Cayenne. I was only able to purchase the Creamy Original, but after trying it, I’d love to taste their other flavors.
There’s about 10 slices in a package, and they’re not individually wrapped like Kraft slices or separated by paper, like Daiya. The block of slices is about the same size as a Daiya wedge (7.0 ounces as opposed to 7.8 ounces.) The ingredients are all things I can recognize, which I like.
Straight from the package they have a strong cheesy odor, like unwrapping a tube of string cheese or a block of mozzarella. The slices are firm enough to peel apart, but not so firm that they bend or crumble. The first bite was like a hint of swiss, provolone, and butter. As I continued to eat, I kept saying how buttery it tasted. I’m not sure if that’s the coconut oil or the fermented tofu, but I really enjoyed it.
I was worried that I would only like them raw, and that they wouldn’t melt well, but of course Field Roast wouldn’t let me down. I tried a piece on reheated lasagna and it melted perfectly.
It still seems like it’s slightly solid, it doesn’t turn into a runny gelatinous mess like dairy cheese does but I didn’t try it at a high temperature, so it could be much more susceptible to melting.
My only dislike about the Chao Slices so far is the price. Field Roast products tend to be a little pricier than competitors, because their quality is higher, but I felt that almost double the price of their closest competition in the vegan cheese market was a bit steep. I definitely wouldn’t be purchasing it on a regular basis at the price point it was at. I don’t think it would encourage people who are trying to eat dairy free to purchase a new product at such a high price.
Overall, we really enjoyed the Creamy Original slices and would recommend them over most other vegan cheeses.