Sunday, January 3, 2010

Daiya Cheese Review

There's a lot of hype swirling around on food blogs and facebook about the latest vegan cheese to hit the market. It's called Daiya which I don't know what it means but there it is. Logistically it made the most sense for me to order from the closest west coast online venue and that just happened to be Karmavore which is based in Vancouver. I had to order a minimum of 5 lbs and so I did. It took me several trys over the last two weeks in December to be able to actually place an order. Each time I went online to try and order Daiya it was sold out! My god but this item was going like wildfire and I couldn't wait to get some. Finally my order went through and on December 29th my order was shipped at 3 p.m. to me via Canada Post and miraculously it arrived on December 31st at 11:30 a.m. I was amazed that it arrived on time considering it was the xmas holiday week and the mailman had told me the day before that they were very short on staff and had had to hire 35 extra workers just to keep up with things. I had quizzed him as to when he would be making the rounds in our street on the 31st because I did not want to risk having him not deliver my package and then having it sit on the post office shelves from Thursday to Monday -- that wouldn't be good for a food item. Anyhow I sat at my kitchen window from 11 a.m. on just to make sure I didn't miss him. It worked out very well for me as he arrived at 11:38 a.m. I'm sure he was pleased to see my eagerness and even more pleased that he got to drop off the parcel asap and keep moving as it was pretty darn cold on new year's eve day. The parcel was packaged perfectly and even more surprising the cold packs surrounding the cheese still had a few ice chunks within. So that part was perfectly executed by the staff of Karmavore. I would not hesitate to order anything online from them.

Now as for the actual cheese flavor of Daiya I hate to say I was a little more than a little disappointed. I wanted so much to love it and I thought maybe something was wrong with me because I just wasn't feeling the same excitement expressed by others. Not that it's bad but with all the hype I was expecting something much closer to a "dairy-based" cheese flavor then what it delivers. I think that the ingredients that are used to make it are outstanding and that's a good thing. But for me the flavor, texture and even the smell of Daiya is almost identical to vegan rella. In fact I think you'd have a hard time distinguishing one from the other in a blind taste test. And I like using vegan rella -- it's been an acceptable alternative for me for years. I wouldn't eat it straight on a piece of bread but it's great melted slightly on pizza or in white sauces. The same way that Daiya will have to be used as well. Perhaps Daiya has an edge over Vegan Rella because they took great care to eliminate all the major allergens and I can't argue with the positive aspects of that. However if you live in an area where Daiya is not available and allergies are not a concern than Vegan Rella pretty well will do for you what Daiya is doing. I've included a photo of what Daiya actually looks like compared to the picture at Karmavore. It looks more "cheesy" on that pic. Of course just to be fair their photo is obviously a mixture of the cheddar and the italian shred but that mixture is not available for purchase. You either buy one or the other and I bought the italian shred because the cheddar was sold out! It looks just like vegan rella when I shred it on my fine shredder which is what I always do with it and then freeze it. I wouldn't go through all the trouble to order Daiya online when vegan rella is available locally. And I'm quite sure that soon you'll be able to buy Daiya locally as well so there will be no need to order online. Of course I won't be having to buy either for a very long time as the 5 lbs I purchased filled two very large tupperware containers that are now resting nicely in my freezer. The positive aspect involving Daiya is that somehow they've managed to crack the glass ceiling when it comes to encouraging pizzeria's to offer a vegan alternative to dairy based cheese and that's a major accomplishment that vegans and lactose intolerant people will be very grateful for. I'd be happy to have you add any comments here regarding your experience with Daiya.

15 comments:

  1. That's a lot of vegan cheese. Maybe it's good for your vegan croquettes?

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is a lot but the good thing is it freezes really well and freezing does not harm either vegan rella or daiya in the slightest. It will be perfect for the croquettes. I was thinking today of making those pizza buns I used to make. I think nico might enjoy those.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for your honest review. I haven't tried daiya yet but in general, after the commercial ones I've tried so far, I'm more and more inclined to stick by my own homemade vegan cheese. The longer I'm vegan, the less real cheese (or real cheese analogues) appeal to me anyway...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have to agree with you Zoa...the best "cheese" alternative I ever had was made by a Seventh Day Adventist lady I met through Vegetarians of Alberta. I don't have the recipe but it was based on cashews, red pepper & agar -- it set really well and she gave us slices on crackers.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cheese is pretty much the only sticking point from me switching from Vegetarian to Vegan. When I saw that Daiya was available in BC I was pretty excited and hoped that Planet Organic might be importing it soon... (I'm in Edmonton too), but after reading this I'm not so impatient.

    I've never really like Vegan rella, or any other soy based cheese that I've tasted - nor any of the rice cheeses. I'm pretty eager to try the Tofurky pizzas that have Daiya on them though, I have this theory that anything in disc form, with enough tomato sauce, is great...

    (Ps: Did you know Famoso's pizza in Edmonton offers Vegan rella? :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you know Daiya is actually based in Vancouver, BC? :)

      Delete
  6. Well the wait is over!
    Earth's General Store is carrying Daiay cheese - both types - Mozzarela (Italian) and Cheddar.
    We are located at 9605 - 82nd Avenue phone 780-439-8725 www.egs.ca)

    ReplyDelete
  7. lol..Michael beat me too it but I was going to say that Earth's General store now sells Daiya...I have yet to try it though:)

    Fiona

    ReplyDelete
  8. Padmanadi is using Daiay cheese in their brunch dishes and I have had the "eggs benedict". For some reason they managed to make it taste absolutely delicious so I'll have to agree with Bio's theory that anything in disc form with enough tomato sauce or any other sauce is great! I've never been to Famoso's pizza -- hmmm...worth a stop one day!
    Perhaps the cheddar flavor is tastier -- I only had the italian -- perhaps that was the problem for me! Anyhow go to Earth's General store and pick up a small quantity and let me know what you think. And don't hesitate to try any items on Padmanadi's Brunch Menu -- they are truly outstanding!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I had such high hopes but basically I think the Daiya mozzarella is gross. :(

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm glad I read this review, I've heard so many people rave about it and was dying to try it but I live in the UK and it's not available over here! Now I don't feel so bad ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have to say, I just bought this cheese and thought it was disgusting! I don't understand all of the hype. I agree with you that it is nothing like real cheese plus it's very expensive. I also think it's really oily, even in the not melted form. I am very disappointed with this product.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I actually don't mind the Daiya cheese. It's the only vegan cheese that I'll use and I like that it's soy free. It's not like regular cheese. That's for sure. But it is nice to have once in a while and I do like that it melts and stretches the best out of the vegan cheeses. The key that I've found is not to put the same amount on stuff that you normally would for regular cheese. So, say on a pizza or something I'd put considerably less Daiya shreds than I would if I was using real mozzarella. It wasn't horrible, and it was actually kind of a nice treat. Superstore and Extra Foods sells Daiya shreds here in Saskatoon ... maybe yours does too? (Not that you'll need to buy any anytime soon haha!)

    ReplyDelete
  13. You can buy this at Ed's Gluten Free specialty in much smaller quantities! Kathryn

    ReplyDelete
  14. I tried daiya today. I could not stand it, it tasted like I was eating oil. I can live without cheese, if this is the best vegan alternative out there.

    ReplyDelete