The judges had some tough decisions to make at this year’s Vegan Cheese Awards.

The judges had some tough decisions to make at this year’s Vegan Cheese Awards.

Hosted by The Butcher’s Son, in Auckland, the Vegan Society Aotearoa’s Vegan Cheese Awards were hotly contested with over 30 entries in nine different categories of cheeses. After 2 hours of tasting by experts in the food industry, the Supreme Winner was crowned: Casheta by Savour, a cashew-based feta style vegan cheese wowed all the judges with its “Wonderful appearance, right amount of salt and pepper. Good feta!”

The rise in popularity of plant-based foods has led to an incredible array of plant-based cheeses. The Vegan Society food awards showcase the best of these, giving the public a clear indication of the quality and tastiness of each winner and runner up. The second year of the cheese awards saw the return of old favourites from last year and some great new flavours and developments in cheese making since the inaugural year.

There is no cholesterol in plants, so those keen to preserve their health as well as the environment and who love cheese, can finally eat their way safely into cheese heaven. Supermarkets know that vegan cheese is on the rise as they are seeing a 30% increase in plant-based foods from last year. This is a huge win for the plant-based industry and The Vegan Society Aotearoa New Zealand is delighted to present this year’s award winners:

CREAM CHEESE

Winner – The Green Larder; Cashew Cream Cheese (Smoked)

Judges said: Good smoke, well balanced. Good umami and smooth texture. Very pleasing.

Runner Up – Hapi; Sour Cream

Judges said: Great sour cream. Sweet after taste.

MOZZARELLA

Winner – Zenzo

Judges said: Melty appearance. Nice composition with melt. Good moisture, tasty. 

Runner Up – Angel Food

Judges said: Melts well, smooth texture, balanced flavour.

SURFACE RIPENED AND BLUE

Winner – Moa Bakery Cakery; Blue

Judges said: Beautiful strong flavour. Creamy and firm mould. Nice appearance. A ‘real’ blue in the vegan world.

Runner Up – Let Them Eat Vegan; Creamy Camembert

Judges said: Mild flavour, good texture. 

FETA

Winner – Savour; Casheta

Judges said: Wonderful appearance, right amount of salt and pepper. Good feta!

Runner up – Let Them Eat Vegan; Herbed Feta Crumbles

Judges said: Looks good. Delicious herb flavour. Would go well in salad and would add protein.

SOFT CHEESE

Winner – Savour; Casheta

Judges said: Wonderful appearance. Good on cheese board, well balanced flavour and acidity. Right amount of pepper.

Runner up – Let Them Eat Vegan; Creamy Camembert Spread

Judges said: Texture good. It screamed camembert – delicious on a burger. Great versatility in the kitchen.

Runner Up – Savour; Chipotle

Judges said: Good spiciness. Flavour and acidity are well balanced. Colour is very attractive

COMMERCIAL AND FLAVOURED CHEDDAR

Winner – Zenzo; Cheddar

Judges said: Good balance of fats and solids. Moisture good. Grates well, with good flavour and salt.

Runner Up – Nu Dairy Sliced Cheddar

Judges said: Good cheese, good flavour.

FLAVOURED CHEESE

Winner – Sonntag; Cumin Gouda

Judges said: Cumin covered beautiful. Flavour well balanced. Brilliant on a cheese board. Well toned, with mass appeal.

Runner up – Savour: Ash

Judges said: Very attractive. Good texture. Great Ash flavour. Would capture younger vegans.

Runner up – Savour; Chipotle

Judges said: Flavoured really well. Good level of chipotle. Excellent texture to hold in a round.

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