Vegan Pizza at Home: Review of Parmela Creamery Mozzarella style nut cheese & American Flatbread Farmers Tomato PiePosted: September 7, 2019 | Author: marga | Filed under: Cheese, Food Items, Grocery Outlet | Tags: American Flatbread, cheese, frozen food, Grocery Outlet, Parmela Creamery, pizza, reviews, vegan | Leave a comment »
Back in August we visited Las Vegas, where my daughter had the BEST VEGAN PIZZA EVER at Trattoria Reggiano at The Venetian’s Grand Canal Shoppes. It tasted so much like a real cheese pizza that we suspected it might be real cheese after all. After all, my daughter had had plenty of pizzas with Daiya cheese, including from great pizzerias like Zachary’s, and they’ve always tasted like vegan pizza.
The waitress at Trattoria Reggiano had suggested that their pizza was made with nut cheese, so when we saw packages of Parmela Creamery Mozzarella style nut cheese at our local Grocery Outlet, we had to try it. My daughter is very glad we did. While it didn’t work I tried to make an Alfredo sauce with it, it makes a mean vegan pizza.
Parmela Creamery’s cheeses are made with cashew milk, which is cultured and then aged – following a process similar to dairy cheesemaking. It’s not surprising that they taste considerably better than Daiya’s cheeses, whose main ingredient is tapioca flour.
A search online suggests that it’s not easy to find Daiya cheese in stores, though there are a couple of places that sell them online, so we need to stock up at Grocery Outlet and start looking for other nut cheeses to try. When available, a 7 oz package of Parmela Creamery shreds costs $6-7.
My daughter has been making her close-to-real pizzas by putting the cheese on frozen American Flatbread Farmers Tomato Pie. This is a thin pizza shell covered in tomato sauce with some veggies, basil and balsamic vinegar. She just covers it with the shreds and bakes it. I also found this product at Grocery Outlet, but it also seems hard to find in regular stores. Where available it should retail for about $8. I’m not sure why this product is not described as vegan – the only potentially non-vegan ingredient listed is yeast.
I found this item today at Grocery Outlet San Leandro, while looking for actual Gruyère cheese for a recipe. Normally, I would stay away from anything that calls itself a “cheese product,” but nothing in the ingredient list seemed scary (though it does contain sodium phosphates, emulsifying salts and sorbic acid) so I figured, why not?
It was a great choice. This cheese tastes *just* like Laughing Cow cheese, but it’s more solid. You can cut it into slices and have it melt on your burgers. As other processed cheeses, it melts beautifully. It’s also damned tasty to eat by itself – and I’m thinking of including it on my Christmas Eve dinner cheese plate.
It turns out that processed cheeses can last a long time because they have preservatives added. Plus they are fattier. Amazingly, a lot of the cheeses we know – such as Mozarella, Cheddar, Brie, Camembert and Swiss – are processed cheeses. Who knew?
Amazingly, I haven’t been able to find any references to this cheese in the internet. Grand European is a trademark of Pacific Cheese Co., located in Hayward (next door to San Leandro), which distributes it. Costco sells a Havarti and a Gouda with the same label. This Gruyere cheese products says it’s made in Germany.
My fear is that this cheese will be difficult to find – cheeses at Grocery Outlet come and go. Fortunately, it’s very cheap ($2.20 for about 7 oz) and it will last until March next year.
I grew up loving fondue, and I still love it. It turns out that so do my children, so I make it from time to time. Not only is it delicious, but it has the advantage of being fairly quick to make. Sure, the dippers can take time, but on lazy nights like tonight we just default to bread. Bread and cheese, what can be better?
I no longer make the “classic” fondue recipe because I have little desire to hunt for the right cheeses – plus they are expensive! Instead I wing it with whatever cheeses I find that I think can combine well. I like going for two mildish-to-medium cheeses, one slightly sweet, and then a sharper one to elevate the flavor. But really, I wing it. To the grated cheeses I add just 1/2 a cup of white wine (hunting after kirsch is too much trouble), and some nutmeg if I remember.
Today’s fondue was phenomenal, much better than the classic fondue. It had
This serve 4 of us and we had more than enough.
For those who actually need a recipe, what you do is: Shred or chop the cheese (I just put it in my food processor), mix it with a little cornstarch and set aside. Meanwhile rub the fondue pot with a garlic clove. Set on medium-high and add the wine. Wait until it boils and then add the cheese by the handful, mixing well and making sure it all melts. Bring down the temperature to a simmer, and enjoy!
Stilton is probably my favorite blue cheese, and I’ve liked other versions of white stilton with fruits. This one, however, is plain amazing. I was afraid that the ginger would be too strong, specially against what is, when devoid of its mold, a rather subtle cheese, but it’s perfectly caramelized into barely spicy sweetness. This cheese is just delicious, dessert with a capital “D”. Best of all, it’s available right now at the Grocery Outlet in San Leandro for only $3 or so for the 5oz package.
It’s the real Clawson stilton, imported from England, and it has an expiration of July 2014. As with other soft cheeses, it’s creamier as it warms up in room temperature. This one is a bit chalky when cold.
My oldest daughter has fallen in love with cheese, so she insisted that we have a cheese course as part of our Xmas Eve dinner this year. I don’t think I’ve ever done one before, but boy am I glad I did. The cheeses were wonderful, and for a couple of my guests (including my husband) the best part of the dinner. Those guests won’t be invited back 🙂
I did my cheese shopping at Trader Joe’s, as it made it easy, so I was able to research TJ cheese recommendations before. The day I went shopping, TJ was offering samples of one of their cheeses and it may very well be my favorite cheese of all times – my daughter also loved it. This is what I ended up serving, in addition to sliced french bread and sliced apples (I also had jams but they proved less popular). Remember that the key to a good cheese course is that the cheeses be close to room temperature, cold cheeses are less flavorful cheeses.
– Le Délice de Bourgogne, a triple cream softened ripened cheese from France. It’s similar to a brie, though even creamier than the triple cream brie they have at TJ, but with a stronger, richer flavor. It’s really delicious.
– Castello Blue, a triple cream soft blue veined cheese from Denmark. This is a real winner, and a real competitor to TJ’s stilton. I think we all liked it, and was one of my 10-yo’s favorites.
– Double Cream Gouda, from Holland. Another all around winner, but not as spectacular as the other two.
– Cotswold Double Gloucester with Onion & Chives, from England. This is the cheese that they were offering tastings of and that blew us away. It has an intense flavor, it’s super cheesy and slightly bitter, and just delicious.
– Arla Dill Havarti, from the US. I got this at Grocery Outlet and my daughter liked it, but it was mild and boring in comparison with the other cheeses.
I just found some Rougette Bavarian Red triple cream cheese at Grocery Outlet, and I had to try it. I *love* it. The cheese is super creamy and tastes pretty much like any good brie, though it’s not as bitter as most. It also has a thinner rind. It retails for about $20 a lb, but it was just $7lb at the San Leandro Grocery Outlet. The catch? It expired yesterday (March 1st). Unopened brie should be good for a whole week after its expiration date, but that still means you need to eat it by next Wednesday. Still, if you are around town before then, it’s definitely worth it.
I ate it on Sensible Portions Pita Bites, and they went amazingly well together.
During the 1970’s the fondue sensation reached Argentina and it quickly became one of our biggest “special occasion” treats. My parents would make it from time to time using the recipe below. Instead of the traditional havarti and emmental cheeses, which I assume were not available in Argentina (or at least in our town), it uses the Argentine cheese Talhuet, which melts nicely. Otherwise it’s rather traditional
My parent’s cheese fondue recipe
- 1 tsp. corn starch
- 1/2 liter white wine
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup kirsch
- 1 lb. Gruyere cheese, grated
- 1 lb. Talhuet cheese (an Argentine cheese), grated
- White pepper to taste
Dissolve corn starch in 1/4 cup of white wine, set aside.
Rub garlic on pot. Put on the burner and add the rest of the wine and kirsch. When it boils, add the grated cheeses bit by bit, mixing with a wooden spoon until they melt, then add the white pepper. If it cools down, add more wine. Once it’s ready, add the corn starch. Mix well and serve.
Grocery Outlet in San Leandro is currently selling Rosenborg Danish Blue Cheese at the unbelievable price of $2lb. Really, I’m not kidding. The same cheese sells at amazon fresh for $13lb.
Best of all, the cheese is actually very good. It is creamy (when @ room temperature), with a smooth blue cheese flavor, not too bitter and with perhaps a hint of sweetness. We all loved it, and it as fantastic in a Blue Cheese and Caramelized-Onion Squares recipe.
The cheese that they had today had been packed on 1/3-1/7 and had a “sell by” date of 1/15th.
During the 1970s fondue became a craze not only in America, but in Argentina as well. My parents got a beautiful fondue set and on rare and special occasions they’d go to the expensive cheese shop and create this wonderful dish that we all could share. As a kid I LOVED it – and I still do. As a kid we always ate it with toasted bread crumbs. In Geneva, I discovered that fresh bread was even more authentic – and as a grown up I experimented on different things I could dip in it.
The following is the recipe that I use now. The traditional liqueur for fondue is kirsch. That’s not always easy to find and you may hesitate at buying a whole bottle when you only need a little bit for this dish. I’ve substituted it with Calvados or just plain cognac or brandy with great results. BTW, in America all these cheeses are usually available at Trader Joe’s.
As a kid, and for many years, I used a regular fondue set with an alcohol burner. A few years ago I bought an electric fondue set and I LOVE it! It’s so much easier to keep the temperature at the right setting! I highly recommend getting one.
Traditional Cheese Fondue
- 1/2 lb Havarti cheese
- 1/2 lb Gruyere cheese
- 1/2 lb Emmental cheese
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 cloves garlic, cut in two
- 1 glass white wine
- 3 tbsp. kirsch or another brandy
Shread the cheeses, put in a bowl, add the cornstarch and mix together. Set aside.
Rub the garlic on the interior of the fondue pot and leave in. Add wine and heat until boiling. Add the cheese, a handful at the time, stirring until it melts. When all the cheese melts down, turn down the temperature and add the brandy. Take to the table. Maintain temperature to just bubbling while you eat.
Serve with: French or sourdough bread, raw broccoli, apple and/or pear slices, sausage slices, mini-meatballs, cooked tortellini and anything else you can think of.