bio life cheese
There has been a buzz on social media about a new vegan cheese around town…Bio Life.
I found some at a local deli and bought it to try. It is available at quite a few delis and IGA stores as well as the Prahran Convenience store.
On the upside I am happy to report that it is vegan, it grates, it almost melts like cheese and it tastes pretty good straight off the block, like a very mild cheddar.
Just to be clear, I dislike almost all vegan cheeses, but this one has none of the graininess, poor texture, bad melting qualities or fake flavour that plague most of them.
But here comes the but… for me it is a big BUT. The one flaw, I think, is an after taste a bit reminiscent of something chemical. I don’t know why, but I’m speculating that it is some chemical taste leftover from refining the coconut oil. I can’t imagine you’d put that taste in deliberately. I can’t taste it when eaten plain off the block, but it seems to be accentuated when heated, to the point of being unpleasant.** See below for the latest update on this strange taste.
I’ve tried it plain, grated, sliced, melted, in pasta and it all works pretty well. It tends to look a bit dried out when grilled, but underneath the skin is a melted slightly stretchy cheese. In a sandwich press it strings and melts much better. It just doesn’t seem to like the direct heat of a grill.
It is soy free, made from water, starch, coconut oil and salt with a few other seasonings, colour and preservatives, none of them scary. I am not sure what the “vegan flavourings” in the ingredients list are. I would have a included a photo of the ingredients label but the cheese is cut off the block. I looked at the ingredient list on the large block at the deli. Others have posted a photo of the ingredients on Facebook in Vegans of Melbourne. There is also a list of retail outlets in the files section of Vegans of Melbourne.
I held so much hope for this cheese, but with that strange chemical aftertaste, I’ll have to put myself in the ‘no’ camp.
**EDIT May 2015: I have since tasted another small packaged block and I cannot taste the aftertaste at all. I’m very happy about this because it is a great mild, melty cheese.