Review: Raw Vegan Cashew Cheese from Happy Cheeze

Cheese. People are obsessed with the stuff. And for good reason too: it’s basically addictive. Dairy contains casein, a protein that on digestion creates casomorphin, an opiod that resembles morphine and is proven to stimulate reward systems in the brain. People literally can’t stop eating dairy, a food high in fat, sodium and hormones. Designed to encourage calves to drink enough milk, in humans, casein has been proven to rapidly increase cancerous tumour growth. Add to this the horrendous accounts of animal abuse in the dairy industry and cheese doesn’t look like such a great addition to a conscious and healthy diet.

Because of this, in the last few years the vegan cheese market has grown considerably with processed offerings made from starches or pseudo grains and raw vegan options made from nuts and seeds. Heavily scented, the best tasting processed options melt well but don’t always deliver on taste and texture when eaten straight from the packet and ingredients can be less than ideal, health wise.

We’ve tried our fair share of raw vegan cheeses over the years and have found that the best are homemade following recipes that require making gluten free rejuvalec and fermenting. Delicious but time consuming, we are always on the the look out for ready made options that deliver on mouth feel and flavour and the range from Happy Cheeze does just this.

Happy Cheeze is a small company from Cuxhaven, Germany that specialises in raw vegan cheese making. Their “mission is to make people happy” and their raw, vegan, organic matured firm cheeses and fresh cream cheeses, all made from cashews, are impressively good.

The fresh range of cream cheeses consists of five flavours. The fresh Schabzigerklee is mild and creamy with a pleasant fenugreek flavour that works well with curry. The fresh Barlauch is similar to a thick garlicky sour cream and perfect used in its place. The fresh Krauter der Provence is a light and fresh, creamy, garlicky, herby cheese, mildly tart and reminiscent of Boursin but with different herb flavours. The fresh Spirulina Chilli is beautifully smooth and very creamy with an unusual but pleasant spirulina flavour, no fishy taste and slight hint of spice. The fresh Klassik is a thick cream cheese that works well as a substitute for ricotta.

The matured range consists of six flavours and offers a firmer set of cheeses. The matured Barlauch is a savoury and salty creamy cheese with a pleasantly mild hint of garlic. The matured Klassik is nutty, tart and creamy and easy to pair with other flavours as its subtle cheese flavour holds its own. The matured Schabzigerklee made from blue fenugreek is tart and peppery, interesting but not unpleasant. The matured Asche is soft, mild and creamy with a subtle cheesiness and of the entire selection, most like a traditional cream cheese. The matured Krauter der Provence is soft, creamy and tart with a strong pleasant cheesiness underlying the flavour of herbs and salt. The matured Chorizo, spicy with sweet chewy pieces of dried red pepper and a savoury meaty flavour is our favourite of all and almost like a pate.

We spoke with Happy Cheeze about their passion for cashew based dairy alternatives.

What inspired you to create Happy Cheeze?

Happy Cheeze founder Dr. Mudar Mannah worked as an orthopaedic surgeon before he founded his own company. The idea of creating raw vegan alternatives to cheese arose during a world trip with his family. He has always been a passionate cook and it didn’t take him long to create his very own recipes so he founded Happy Cheeze in 2012. We moved to a bigger factory this year and now have the capacity to produce 100,000 cheeses per month.

Why vegan?

We believe in the benefits of a plant based diet, for the planet, for the animals, for the humans and for our health. However, not all of our customers are vegan and we are proud that people with various diets love our products.

Why organic?

We are making happy products for happy people and we don’t want to harm the environment nor the people involved in the process. We only use the best ingredients, like organic cashews, that are packed with minerals and vitamins, filtered
water and live cultures.

Why raw?

Mainly because heating foods destroys many of their vitamins, enzymes and nutrients.

How do you ensure your raw products are safe to eat?

We ferment our foods using a centuries old approved method of preserving. However, we recommend people with a weak immune system, older people, pregnant women and children to talk to their doctor before switching to a raw diet.

Where are your products made?

Our products are made with love in our very own factory in Cuxhaven, Germany.

Are they fairtrade and sustainable?

Yes, our products are fairtrade and most of them are organic, too. There are only very few exceptions.

Is your packaging recyclable?

Yes, everything is recyclable.