As you know by now, I’m a massive advocate of healthy plant-based eating.
But with healthy eating habits comes balance. If you’ve ever worked with me, you know how important it is to still eat foods that you love and not feel restricted. Vegan cheese is one of those things. Throwing it on every single meal is a recipe for high saturated fat intake, but using it as an occasional topping shows how we can have food freedom, and still have healthy nourished bodies.
It’s also important to find a vegan cheese that you like. So when Violife – the OG of vegan cheese – reached out to me for a review of their products, I knew I had to say yes! Especially when one of those products was their Le Rond Camembert… seriously, how much choice do we have as vegans nowadays!?
Disclaimer: Violife sent me 5 products for free, and I received a small payment for writing an honest review of their products. As always, my review is 100% genuine and I never pull any punches when I give my opinion – good or bad!
So what did I think of the product range?
Violife Original Flavour Slices
Violife Original must have been one of the first vegan cheeses I remember. I’ve been vegan for 8 years now, and for a long time, there were no products like this at all. Vegan cheese and meats were a real rarity, and you had to go to niche health shops to get them. Violife really paved the way in getting vegan cheese into supermarkets, so this product will always have a special place in my heart.
That being said, Original is a little plain for me. I like a strong cheese! My young girls love it though, and it is a great versatile all-rounder. If you have kids who like a milder cheese, this is the one for them. You can also quickly put together a sandwich or toastie without any slicing or grating.
PS. Have you ever made a vegan lasagne with this? 4 slices fit across the top of the pasta sheets perfectly! They also melt without burning, for that perfect oozy topping.
A brilliant all-rounder.
Violife Original Flavour Grated
This product has the same flavour as the Original Slices, but just in grated form. I found that a little went a long way for a family of four, and it spread across several meals.
My favourite way to use this was on top of spaghetti bolognese, or mixed into scrambled tofu on toast. I also found that it melted really on a homemade pizza – I love to use a 50/50 combination of nutritional yeast and cheese when I make pizza, to maximise nutrition and minimise the saturated fats. Then I’ll add my favourite veggies – onion, mushroom, olives and sweetcorn.
Again, the texture was very much like a mild dairy cheddar, and you’d use it in the same way.
If you’re not vegan, try picking this up instead of your usual go-to cheese next time you’re in the supermarket.
Violife Epic Mature Cheddar Flavour Block
I had tried both the Original Slices and Original Grated before Violife asked me to do this review, but the Epic Mature was brand new to me. It comes in a hard block, much like dairy cheddar and has a very similar texture for slicing or grating off the block.
It’s like a stronger, levelled-up version of the Original and I love it! Think of a stinky mature cheddar, that you can smell as soon as you open the packet. If you’ve recently gone vegan but miss cheese, or just want to reduce your dairy intake, I’d definitely recommend this product. In fact, I’ve bought it again since reviewing the free sample.
Recommended uses: cheese and crackers, a huge salad with baked sweet potato, or cheese and tomato on toast.
Violife Smoky Cheddar Flavour Slices
This one was a huge hit with my husband, who kept on diving into the fridge to snack on it! I enjoyed it, but also felt that it could have had a stronger smoky flavour – I’m the kind of person who likes big flavours. If you want an intense flavour of BBQ smoke or paprika, this probably isn’t for you.
I made savoury Korean Pancakes from Issue September 2020 of Vegan Life magazine, and added this smoky cheese into the mix. It definitely enhanced the flavour and added a little something. As this smoky cheddar comes pre-sliced, I had to tear it into pieces to use – I think it would be better as a block or grated personally.
I’d also recommend pairing with vegan bacon, or putting in savoury muffins or a chickpea omelette.
Violife Le Rond Camembert Flavour
This is the product I was most excited to try out of the five, and so of course I left it until last! This cheese comes with an insert that gives several serving suggestions. I’ll let you discover them for yourself when you buy a block, but they all looked delicious. The main decision was wether to have it baked or cold. It was a cool Autumn day, and so I baked it as a family appetiser and served up with dipping crackers. We were all really impressed by how similar it tasted to dairy camembert, and the texture was spot on, too! Gooey and sticky, but thick enough that it didn’t run off the cracker.
Although I wouldn’t recommend eating cheese on a daily basis, I do love that they’ve added Vitamin B12 to this product.
Now, I have a confession to make. After trying the Camembert baked, I was curious to try it cold too, so I bought another. All in the name of research, of course! It was so good straight out of the fridge – creamy and salty, with a slight taste of Stilton to it. It’s a little sticky too, so you can easily spread it.
I can’t actually decide if I prefer it hot or cold. I think the main thing to remember is that it’s versatile – so perfect cold on crackers with a slice of tomato, or served up gooey at a dinner party. A huge thumbs up from me!
You’ve read my opinion, got some meal ideas for the Violife vegan cheese… now listen to the experts! Violife have kindly put together their own vegan recipes using the cheeses. I can personally vouch for how delicious their Greek Style Veggie Burger is, and I want to try out the Gnudi Dumplings next.
Which of the five do you think will hit the spot for you?