Whilst residing in the US recently, a few trusted sources were passing on wisdom about a company called Dr. Cow. Makers of an aged, hard cheese made from tree nuts. I was intrigued. I had to get my mitts on this wonder cheese and see what the fuss was all about. I was due to fly to the UK and time was racing by, looking back and poking its tongue out at me! I had to get some. And fast.
I had delivered a selection of intriguing flavours. They arrived as domes of cheese, wrapped in paper. Wondrous artisanal flavours such as Aged Cashew & Dulse, Cashew & Crystal Manna Algae, Aged Macadamia, Aged Cashew & Hemp and a round tub of soft white Cashew Cream Cheese.
A review follows, but first…
Regular readers will know that I like to find out about the operations, the people behind the product. I talked with Pablo Castro to discover…Just who are Dr. Cow?
comments in [ ] are added by A Vegan Obsession.
They are a small, environmentally concious business, run by Veronica Schwartz and Pablo Castro. Veronica is an award winning pastry chef (Best Dessert – New York Magazine), and entrepreneur, she’d worked alongside renowned chefs such as Daniel Boulud and Jean George. She formed Dr. Cow with her partner Pablo Castro, so she could concentrate on her own gastronomic creations. Pablo Castro had a degree in Business and worked most of his life in the food industry developing products and doing research R&D. Now his doing it for his own company.
Their facility in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, has it’s own water purifier system to ensure the highest quality of product. Alongside the nut cheese they make granolas, activated nuts, cookies, biscotti, nuts and seeds milks and specialty products. All their products are gluten-soy-dairy free.
Tell us more about the Cheese.
The “Tree Nut Cheese” is a product that has all the requirements that we perceive are needed for a product to be launched into the marketplace: Very high nutritional value, Life Force, Contains good healthy bacteria, It is raw, fermented and vegan.
Who is the cheese aimed at?
“Tree Nut Cheese” is a product that is not only accepted by the vegan community but by all consumers alike as its hand-crafted preparation is the same as its animal counterpart.
It’s a basic item in any kitchen and is for anyone. We think that is not about one product, but about seeing things differently. It is a simple and basic product, Cheese. We believe it can help break certain barriers because it gives the gourmet cheese lover a new, interesting option. A cheese made from nuts??!!?!
It would also help many dairy eating people to reduce the use of animal products in their daily diet. [also people with lactose intolerance or who need to reduce saturated fat in their diets]. It is a great transition food. We believe this product can help fundamentally to many carnivores and vegetarians that are having a hard time making the transition towards veganism. [also those who want to shift to a more plant based diet].
The introduction of raw foods in our lifestyle felt like a very natural process. I worked in the food industry since I was a teenager. We always researched and studied local and traditional ingredients, in order to offer our consumers foods with high nutritional value, that were also sustainable for our environment.
What do you believe is so unique about your cheese?
The “Tree Nut Cheese” is a product that has all the requirements that we perceive are needed for a product to be launched into the marketplace: Very high nutritional value. Life Force. Contains good healthy bacteria. It is raw, fermented and vegan. 100% certified organic ingredients are used. No gluten, no casein, no soy and lactose free.
What is the process of making the cheese?
Do you have any exciting plans for Dr. Cow in the pipeline, to reach more consumers?
We are planning to open a dedicated retail shop in mid-September 2013 [woo hoo!]
Meantime, click here for Where To Buy
Can we get Dr.Cow outside of the US?
Dr Cow – Our Food Philosophy: Simple products, easy to incorporate to every day lifestyle.
So, what do they taste like?
I assembled a small panel of tasters. Me (vegan and one time dairy addict), and two friends – one mostly vegan male (for 1 year), and one female carnivore and cheese lover.
The verdict from the taste kitchen….
Texture & taste.
The little parcels were torn open to reveal the array of cheeses. Crackers, heating implements and voracious appetites at the ready. We tried them under a grill/broiler. They soften and turn molten and bubbly but do not melt in the ‘stringy’ way some dairy cheeses may. We thought would be great for a mac or broc and cheese.
The Aged Macadamia has a slightly granular consistency, but the others are smooth and silky. The others grate well in their chilled state. They also stood firm when ‘cut’ with a knife and satisfying and the same as any hard cheddar
All had a nicely balanced saltiness and tang.
The Cashew Cream Cheese was delightfully thick and whipped. It was so creamy with a gentle acidity. Just like ‘dairy made’ Philadelphia cheese.
The Aged Cashew & Dulse was tinged green, which upon opening was rather a surprise. The flavour was mature, with the hint of ‘ocean’.
I thought most were very ‘cheese’ like. I hate to use that term as though it is judged against dairy cheese. Cheese is a flavour term much as ‘peppery’ ‘spicy’ or ‘sweet’. The fact that it first came about from cows milk shouldn’t limit the creation of this flavour form by other means of what is bascially the fermenting of a milky protein substance. Time for some paradigm shifts?!
My carnivorous friend said it wasn’t a dead ringer but she loved it for what it is, a variation on ingredients to make cheese [and she kept the leftovers!] ‘Newbie Vegan’ friend loved the Aged Cashew & Kale on his quesadillas.
All of the cheeses would find harmony atop a doorstep of fresh (gluten free for me) bread with generous dollops of glistening, chunky chutney.
I consider these cheeses to be worthy contenders to the animal produced cheeses. I meet many people who say they want to eat a more healthy, plant-based diet but just don’t believe they can live without cheese. Now, I don’t think they have to.