Were you under the illusion cheeseboards and wine pairings were a thing of the past since switching to a vegan lifestyle? In the name of research, a couple of us in the marketing department had a wine and cheese evening to ensure we could humbly but confidently suggest some delightful combinations, and with 378 vegan cheese alternatives registered, and over 1400 vegan wines registered, we’re sure you will find a combination you love, that is free from animal ingredients or processes.
Whilst none of us are experts (the boss offered up pesto as an accompaniment for the board, with a straight face), we personally tasted a range of Vegan Trademark certified cheeses and wines together to work out if there really was something behind pairing the right flavours together. I was certainly surprised by how much I loved the experience - so don’t write off vegan cheese! Invite a few friends round and take the time to set out a few options with crackers, chutneys, and some fresh fruit – and rest assured that our skilled account managers have done the background work to ensure a product is vegan when you spot our certification on the pack. Or, just click on the shopping links below and add to cart!
HOW TO ASSEMBLE A CHEESEBOARD
- Select the cheeses. Choose a variety of flavours and textures from different categories (see below)
- Add some savoury elements. Whatever is to your taste. This could be olives, pickles, almonds, roasted peppers, artichokes… all vegan, and all fantastic additions.
- Don’t forget the sweet. Chutneys are your friends here. Check out our selection below, but also fresh and dried fruits, candied nuts, or even a honey replacement; see our recent Instagram round-up of options!
- Crunch it up. No cheeseboard is complete without a cracker to carry all the flavour. Offer a selection to add variety (see our list below).
- Don’t forget the spread. Include a pot of vegan spread to anchor your cheese to the cracker and compliment the flavour. You can’t go wrong with Naturli Organic Spreadable.
To get a great variety of tastes, a great tip is to include one or two cheeses from different categories. Traditionally, cheeses are categorised into families of cheeses. Vegan versions don’t exist in every category, but you’re not limited either. Start with these:
- Hard Cheese: Violife Wedge Prosociano
- Semi-Hard Cheese: Ilchester Vegan Melting Mature, Violife Epic Mature, Applewood Vegan Smoked, Mexicana Vegan Block, Babybel Plant-Based Vegan
- Blue Cheeses: Ilchester Vegan Blue, Bute Island Blue Sheese
- Soft Cheeses: Nurishh Plant Based Alternative to Camembert, Boursin Plant-Based Garlic and Herb, ASDA Free From Garlic & Herb Soft Cheese Alternative, Bute Island Sheese Original Spread, Violife Creamy Vegan Cheese
- ASDA has a range of crackers that are all certified vegan: Rosemary, Sea Salt, Garlic or Cream Crackers are all good options.
- Rakusen's have a great Water Biscuit option.
- For the true garlic lovers, try Pickled Wild Garlic Buds from Fruits of the Forage.
- Sweeten things up with Branston Caramelised Onion Chutney (in fact, all Branston pickles and chutneys are registered vegan, so browse here and pick whatever suits your tastes best!)
Wine pairing can seem like a daunting task, but the reward of decadent flavours combining beautifully is just the sort of indulgence February calls for. A basic tip you want to remember is the lighter the cheese, the lighter the wine you want to reach for (and vice versa). Here are 6 tried and tested (by us!) combinations. We’ve included a variety of places to buy and price ranges, all certified with the Vegan Trademark.
- CABERNET SAUVIGNON (ASDA Extra Special Cabernet Sauvignon) – pair the rich full-bodied flavours of this wine that has hints of blackcurrant with a mature cheddar style.
- PINOT NOIR (Miolo Pinot Noir) or CHARDONNAY (Kiss of Wine Chardonnay) – depending on your preferences, pair the Nurishh Camembert with the strong oaky flavours of a pinot noir or contrast the rich flavours of the camembert with the crisp fresh flavours of a chardonnay.
- SHIRAZ (ASDA Extra Special Barossa Valley Shiraz) – match the rich smoky notes of a shiraz with Applewood’s Vegan Smoked and you have a beautiful combination (this is my favourite, for anyone wondering).
- CHENIN BLANC (ASDA Extra Special Chenin Blanc) – an adaptable and light wine that will go nicely with spreadable cheeses like Sheese Original Spread from Bute Island or Violife Creamy.
- RIESLING (Kiss of Wine Riesling) – a light-bodied off-dry white whose acidity and sweetness works wonderfully with a spicy cheese like Mexicana Vegan.
- PROSECCO (La Cantina Pizzolato Sparkling Pinot Grigio) from Good Earth in the UK with Boursin. Since prosecco is sweeter, it pairs well with savoury and salty flavours. We found Boursin Vegan to be the best option because we could top the earthy and garlicky spread with some olives to complement the sweet bubbles nicely.
- SAUVIGNON BLANC (Proudly Vegan Wines) – due to its refreshing acidity, this wine can pair well with many cheese alternatives, but especially cheddars and saltier flavours, so if you favour white wines this is a great option. Try sipping after a cracker with vegan butter, Violife Epic Mature and a caramelized onion chutney and see what you think.
Whilst they're not cheeseboard staples, we’re dreaming of long summer days and so would like to give a mention to fresh cheeses like the Violife Greek Style Block and Nurishh Mozarella Style Block. They're fantastic additions to a light, refreshing salad that you could pair with a crisp, dry white; sparkling or still.
I hope our suggestions have been helpful, and that if vegan cheeseboards have been something you were wary of even attempting, you feel a little more confident to try a couple of these combinations. Remember, you do not have to go all-in and produce a Pinterest-worthy spread, just find a few flavours you like and experiment. For so many, cheese can be one of the biggest hurdles to going vegan, but with the huge variety of Vegan Trademark certified options available now, it really never has been easier to make the switch!
By Charis Collier, Brand Marketing Officer
With support from Ericka Durgahee, Marketing Manager
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.