Beneath the Williamsburg Bridge, just off the East River, multitudes of microbes are silently ripening a viscous concoction formulated by two Argentinean transplants. The contents of this mixture, and of the modest kitchen itself, are poised to transform the face of one of the most impassioned and rapidly-growing foodie cultures: vegans.
Legend has it that thousands of years ago, in the deserts of Arabia, a nomad carrying milk in a sack made from sheep intestine produced the accidental first batch of cheese curds. Her movements agitated the amalgam of milk and intestinal enzymes and, under the hot sun, produced what we call cheese. Rennet (or Rennin), an enzyme that is a product of calf stomachs and sheep intestines is a key ingredient in typical cheeses – not only making most cheese undesirable for vegans, but also for vegetarians – many of whom imagine that cheese is somehow produced without harming animals. Some veal with your cheese?
They are pioneering a new cheese, and there is no reason that any food lover shouldn’t take them seriously
The world of vegan cheese-like-imitations usually consists of heavily processed soy products simply made to look like cheese at first glance – and never followed through by taste or texture. Some Vegan cheese-esque products are notorious among the adventurous, and tend to elicit the response “well it tastes ok if you cook it in something and add a ton of nutritional yeast, but never on its own”. Placing a block of vegan ‘cheese’ on a board among fruit and crackers would be considered heretical among cheese connoisseurs and self-aware vegans alike. “It Melts!” is usually the selling point for these rubbery replicas and even the long awaited ‘Scheese’, imported from Scotland is a yucky disappointment after months of anticipation by American dairy-abstainers. The only tolerable soy-based cheese is ‘Follow Your Heart’ Monterey Jack. Even still, none of these so-called cheeses even deserve the title ‘cheese’.