As I've gotten older, my lactose intolerance has gotten worse and while indulgences like cream cheese, ice cream, and anything au gratin make my heart pound like a love sick preteen, they make me so very ill (also like a love sick preteen). Enter the dairy free world (cue the sunbeams and harps)! Over the last few months, I've been slowly sampling the dairy free products available in my neighbourhood and I thought I'd share my observations.
Today, THE CREAM CHEESE CHALLENGE!
I found these two in my local health food stores. For the side by side challenge, I dipped, spread and scooped them on whatever I had in my kitchen at the time. Here are the applications I used in my test: on dense rye with a good helping of smoked salmon and thin slices of sweet onion; on sesame rice crackers; on good, salty potato chips; and on my finger straight out of the container.
Daiya - my initial go-to because it's stocked at my local Loblaws. Creamy but has a plasticy flavour that is easily masked with toppings (smoked salmon, tomatoes...etc). I like the onion better than the plain but I've yet to have strawberry. It's smooth but a little too gummy for scooping chips but ok with a cracker. The texture reminded me cream cheese sold in a block and the flavour was like the sour cream onion dip I used to eat at birthday parties as a kid. This is a good option if you can't have soy.
Tofutti - I had to hike to the health food store for this so it came only after I'd already gone through one and a half containers of the Daiya (first plain, then onion). This stuff is creamy and smooth with a clean flavour. Good enough on its own to eat with a spoon and an excellent sub for a cream cheese bagel. It's missing a little of the sharp cheesiness of cream cheese but texturally like the fresh fluffy stuff you'll find at a deli. Dangerously easy to scoop and spread. It does contain partly hydrogenated oils but I'm ok with it as it does not contain palm oil, which I'm not ok with.
I have a fridge full of 'cheese' flavours that I'm dying to get to so I'll post my thoughts on those soon... with prettier pictures this time.