If you’ve been vegan for a while, you know that finding a substitute for Parmesan is not an easy task. There are things you can sprinkle on your pasta or your soup that give a similar cheesy umami taste – like nutritional yeast flakes, or mixtures of nutritional yeast with nuts and salt – and these are delicious and absolutely worthy additions to your food repertoire in their own right! But it can’t quite replicate that special experience of grating fresh, pungent cheese onto your dish.
Enter Violife. I’ve already written glowingly about some of their other cheeses, so I was excited to try this new product when I saw it on the Shavt webshop. My first impression on opening the package was “Whoa, this smells like cheese!” Which is not surprising considering it’s made with “parmesan flavor”. It grates smoothly, like a hard cheese, and sprinkled on pasta is definitely reminiscent of those Italian hard cheeses (Parmesan, Pecorino, or Asiago) that I used to get from the Italian market back in my pre-vegan days. It’s quite expensive compared to other vegan cheese blocks, but you really only need a sprinkling of it, and the block lasted me a much longer time than other blocks like Wilmersburger, that I use for things like sandwiches. This is definitely a premium product, but then, so is the original dairy version.
I got my block at Shavt, but I suspect other vegan specialty stores (online and bricks and mortar stores) probably sell this too.