I’ll say it. We’re living in the golden age of vegan cheese. For years nothing would melt or stretch. The texture was off. Plant based chefs hadn’t quite nailed really good cheese alternatives. Now with companies like Treeline, Daiya, Dr-Cow and Follow Your Heart, a girl can make herself a vegan grilled cheese or pizza and feel totally satisfied.
But, even with all the great new options out there, something was missing. My nachos were naked. Sure, some of the brands can melt. None of them quite lived up to my memory of delicious gooey and fully loaded tortilla chips. I wanted cheese, salsa, beans, guacamole. I wanted it all. And then, I moved to Portland, Oregon, the home of Heidi Ho.
At the grand opening of the Portland office for the nonprofit FARM, Heidi Ho’s Chia Cheeze Sauce was on full display. The company donated tons of the creamy, smooth cheese for nachos. I was hooked. I immediately went to Whole Foods and picked up a jar. It’s soft texture (almost like a super thick but light cream) is perfect for dipping, or for drizzling all over your food. I’ve made mac and cheese, nachos, and just plain eaten it with a spoon. It’s more than just texture. It tastes fabulous and so much better than even my memory of nachos from my previous life as a dairy eater. (See my own creation below.)
I met the lady herself (Heidi) at the PSU Farmer’s Market in downtown Portland. She told me about her cheese, “I wanted to make delicious plant based cheese alternatives made from high quality organic ingredients. I wanted them to be delicious and nutritious. I succeeded at this by using organic nuts, seeds, legumes and vegetables to make cheese alternatives that are both healthier for you and the planet.”
Heidi Ho makes more than just the Chia Cheeze sauces that I’ve been going on and on (and on) about. She also makes a crumbled feta, monterey jack, smoked gouda and more. She’s a woman in love with all things cheese. She just wants it to be healthy, humane and eco-friendly, something that the dairy kind can never hope to achieve.
My fellow east coasters won’t be familiar with the brand yet. Heidi Ho hasn’t made it east of Denver as of this moment. But, Heidi told me that it might go to the east coast early next year. I can only hope. As of now, I plan on bringing a whole bunch of it in my suitcase to give to my New York friends on my next trip east. If I had a friend who had tasted something so heavenly and not brought me any, well, let’s just say I’d question the friendship.
If you live on the west coast, check out their product locator to see if you can buy Heidi Ho near you. Then, gorge on nachos like I did.