Musings of a Vegan Shopper: Punk Rawk Labs Nut Milk Cheese

Vegan Cheese!

Hello to all! This column was born from my desire to share recommendations for vegan products that will simultaneously amuse your taste buds while fostering collective support for a cruelty-free marketplace. I asked, “Why not start a CAA column that sings the praises of such vegan goodness?”  Alas, I was elected to be the bearer of good news. I’ve decided to focus my maiden article on Punk Rawk Labs Nut Milk Cheese. The holidays are here, it’s time to indulge and impress. These nondairy cheeses are the perfect ticket for you and your guests. May this column be the first of many!

Riddle me this: has a trusted confidant ever navigated you towards such-and-such vegan cheese because it’s to die for? They say you’ll never crave real cheese again and you’ve just gotta try it asap? You take the plunge, plunk down about four clams (or more!) for a package, try a nibble, and exclaim, “Like, wh-a-a-a-a is this? Cheese replacement extraordinaire? I don’t think so!” You let it loiter in your fridge, hoping the opportunity will arise for you to just eat the dang thing and get your money’s worth, but it never does. Attempting to dodge the guilt you feel about wasting four dollars, you try not to let it catch your eye when hunting for other items on the shelf. Eventually, the cheese is simply too moldy and rank to ingest, and you have no other choice but to pitch it. Has this ever happened to you?

I’m here to tell you that Punk Rawk Labs Nut Milk Cheese is here to save the day. Not only are these little beauties a delicious dairy-free cheese, but they’re also made locally in Minneapolis! The consistency is similar to goat cheese, thick and creamy, and it can be spread like peanut butter. These nut milk blends have a mild, unobtrusive taste that doesn’t overpower other flavors, making it multifaceted. It comes in four varieties: Plain, Herb, Smoked, and Nacho. I’ve purchased the Plain a few times and had the pleasure of taste testing the Herb and the Nacho. Smoked is the only variety I have yet to sample. The Plain is the most versatile. Add it to pizza, make a mean hoagie with it, or how ‘bout use it as an appetizer accompanying fresh tomatoes and basil drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette? Or perhaps smother it in chutney or cranberry sauce and use it as a dip? The Herb flavor has the ability to shine on its own, gracing the top of a cracker in the buff. The Nacho has a bit of a giddyup factor and is delicious for all y’all who like to kick things up a notch past Minnesota Mild.punkrawk2

I purchased my little bundle of joy at The Wedge. The Plain runs slightly north of $10 for 6 ounces, and the flavored cheeses are a few bucks more. Yes, it’s a luxury item but well worth the price. One caveat: be sure to check the “sell by” date. This product will start to deteriorate not long after, and I’d hate to see you waste your hard-earned money. An unexpected bonus: each cheese wheel comes in a lovely metal tin that’s perfect for upcyclers or crafters who want to give it a second life as a handy-dandy caddy that will hold safety pins, paper clips, cottons balls — heck, you name it!

Cheers to a happy and compassionate lifestyle!

T.H. Waters (aka Tera) is a Minneapolis freelance writer and author of three books, including Letters to Bert. Feel free to send her a jingle jangle at thwaters@verefor.com.

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