Cheese

Right, so no-one's invented a vegan stilton and cranberries to rival the 'real' thing, but there are various types of vegan hard cheese, cream cheese, cheese slices and so on that are good for using as recipe ingredients or sandwich fillings. They don't tend to stock them widely in supermarkets, although I've heard rumours of the Cheezly brand of vegan cheese being stocked in a few places. What you can often get in supermarkets is Parmazano, a dairy-free parmesan alternative. Useful ingredient for making risotto, and tastes good on other things if you like parmesan in the first place.

There are also various ingredients that can be used to make cheesy-tasting cheese alternatives (such as "cheese" sauce with cashew nuts and nutritional yeast). I've heard a lot of vegan cheese-fans rave about a book called the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, which explores other ways of making cheese-like tasting things without using dairy products.

My favourite product at the moment is smoked cheddar-style Sheese, it has a really nice taste and texture and I've served it to omnivore friends and relatives who said that it does taste like 'normal' cheese.

Types of product available (find them in Holland and Barrett or wholefoods shops):

Hard cheeses: suitable for slicing, dicing and grating for use in the same way you would use dairy cheese. Made mainly by Cheezly and Sheese. These come in various styles including cheddar, edam, gouda, mozzarella and super-melting versions. They tend to keep their shape a bit more than dairy cheese when they melt, they go soft but don't spread out as much. I have found that (in my opinion, and bearing in mind I haven't tried the whole range of products) Cheezly is better at melting and Sheese tastes and feels more similar to 'normal' cheese.

Cream cheese: made by Tofutti and Sheese. Comes in flavours such as garlic and herb, chives, Mexican style as well as original (which works well in vegan cheesecake!).

Cheese slices: made by Pure, Tofutti and Cheezly. The Pure ones are sold in supermarkets (mainly seems to be Asda) and the Tofutti and Cheezly slices in wholefoods shops and Holland and Barrett.

Feta cheese: Redwood Foods (the makers of Cheezly) make feta-style cheese

Parmesan: Parmazano dairy-free parmesan alternative. Find it in the supermarket 'free-from' section. There is a similar product called Cheddareese, which can be used to give a cheesy taste in recipes which would normally use grated hard cheese.

Paneer: tofu works as an alternative