no cheese, please

veal calfI have steadily eaten less and less cheese over recent times but it has always had a place in my weekly shop in some form or other. Favourites included, mild and creamy Dolcelatte, fresh and tangy nettle-wrapped Cornish Yarg, and the nutty yet fruity firmness of Manchego. I didn’t realise until exploring the concept of vegan cheese that the majority of cheeses use calf rennet in the production process for curdling, that is separating the milk into curds and whey. Most softer cheeses like cream cheese, cottage cheese and paneer don’t. Calf rennet comes from the stomachs of new-born male calves who are slaughtered for veal. While I knew about the gender selection of animals at birth, if I did know about the animal rennet in cheese making, the fact had got lost somewhere in my broad and unthinking understanding of what constitutes a “dairy” product.

For years it seems I have been eating non-vegetarian cheese – this is an unexpected surprise that I feel quite stupid about. I am not sure whether I will try vegan cheese. I have not actually missed it over the last 13 days and I am not sold on the idea of substitute products. There are after all so many diet possibilities with common whole foods, vegetables and fruits that makes a vegan enquiry a time for new tastes and habits to develop. Let alone a greater awareness of what goes into my basket.

 

 

Image via HuffingtonBlogPost

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5 thoughts on “no cheese, please

  1. Where are you? In the UK most cheese uses veggie rennet… But I too am becoming increasingly dairy free, I made vegan butter yesterday, and it was fab! I’m very suspicious of commercial vegan dairy substitutes, so I’ve also started experimenting with making ‘cheeses’ out of nuts… WTS!

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    1. I am in the UK. I’m investigating further the use of calf rennet in production just so that I feel a bit less naive! Truly, I am not missing cheese at the moment but i have come across some interesting and tempting nut-cheese recipes in the blogosphere which I will try for their own sake. Is you vegan butter recipe on your blog? I totally agree about dairy substitutes, they always appear to have to go through so much processing to look and behave like their dairy equivalents, I’d rather not bother.

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