Teese – the melting vegan cheese!

Vegan “cheese” has long been the bane of vegans everywhere. It’s generally nasty, tasteless, non-melting garbage. Considering that statistics show* that pizza is the #1 food that vegans miss from their omnivore or lacto-ovo days, this state of affairs is a sorry mess.

The first problem with vegan cheese is that much of what appears to be vegan cheese is not, in fact, vegan. Most of your “soy cheeses” contain the dreaded casein, a milk protein. This is unfortunate because well-meaning friends and relatives often purchase these soy cheeses thinking they are vegan, and grocery stores stock it, mistakenly believing they are serving the vegan community. The great thing about casein in regards to soy cheese appears to be that casein makes soy cheese melt. Sort of, anyway. I don’t know as I don’t eat casein or casein-containing soy cheeses, but that’s what I’ve heard.

A few years ago, Follow Your Heart came out with their Vegan Gourmet cheese, which for a while was the best we had. It was soft and kinda sorta melted. You could make a “cheese” pizza with it that wouldn’t make you gag, but it wasn’t earth-shattering. Another brand, Vegan Rella, grated well and even melted somewhat well on pizza, but stuck to the roof of your mouth.

Then last year on a trip to London (from our home in the US), my husband and I got to try the much-hyped Cheezly, which I picked up for a couple of pounds at the UK version of Whole Foods, which I call Fresh & Fancy although that isn’t really its name. Cheezly is AMAZING. We ate the mature white cheddar flavor straight up on crackers! No one eats vegan cheese plain like that, because it’s usually disgusting! When we returned home, I immediately began begging all of the Whole Foods in my area to carry Cheezly, but so far I don’t believe they have a regular distributor in the US. The only place to get it that I know of is Vegan Essentials, where it not only costs an arm and a leg, but for best results, you really need to buy a cold pack shipper and pay for 2nd day air (at least if you live on the opposite coast, as I do). I will say, however, that Cheezly is worth all that. The mozzarella makes a perfect vegan cheese pizza, and the cheddar is still good on crackers, and also on pizza. It’s sort of outrageously expensive, but then I saw the price of some real mozzarella, the good stuff, at Wegman’s and realized I’m such a food snob I’d probably be spending the same amount on real cheese if I weren’t vegan.

This post isn’t about the amazing Cheezly, however. (Although maybe I will write one of those later.) This is about a new American vegan cheese that is almost as good: Teese! Teese is brand new and I ordered a sample of it from their website a couple of weeks ago. It arrived last Saturday and I tested it the only proper way I know on Sunday: on pizza. In the very short time since I ordered mine, it seems they’ve stopped processing orders through their website and Teese is now available from the aforementioned Vegan Essentials and Pangea (which is awesome for me because Pangea is driving distance from my home).

Teese has a somewhat different consistency than any other vegan cheese I’ve encountered, in fact, it seems to be a lot like real mozzarella:

Please bear in mind, however, that I have never purchased high quality dairy mozzarella since I’ve been vegan for much longer than I’ve been more affluent than “dirt poor”, so I’m not a good judge of how mozzarella-y this stuff really is.

But therefore, unlike other “cheeses” that I’ve grated, Teese I just sort of crumbled onto my pizza:

I bake my pizzas as hot as my oven will go, 550 F, which means they are only in for about 5 minutes. Some vegan cheeses, if they melt at all, take a lot longer than that to do so. Not Teese! After about 2 minutes, it was clear Teese was very comfortable with high temperatures and fast baking times:

Out of the oven, my Teese pizza looked amazing!

If anything, my husband said it melted too much:

And most importantly, how did it taste? Quite good! The husband and I agreed it was not quite as good as our beloved Cheezly, but if we hadn’t been spoiled by Cheezly, I’d have been doing cartwheels! I don’t know exactly how much the the packages of Teese will weigh when Vegan Essentials gets them in, so I can’t compare it to directly Cheezly, but I usually make about four personal sized pizzas with each $8.49 package of Cheezly, and I’d expect I could make at least twice that with the size package of Teese I got for $7.49. My Teese package wasn’t marked in any way (being a “demo” version) and I didn’t weigh it. But it’s probably a much better buy. Teese only makes a mozzarella-type version right now, but I think they are working on a cheddar variety. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for that, and possibly begging my local health food stores to jump on the Teese bandwagon.

* In a survey I conducted in my head.


  1. Nikki Said,

    April 10, 2008 @ 9:07 pm

    Fresh and Fancy opened a location in Los Angeles last November.

  2. anarchotoads Said,

    December 14, 2010 @ 8:09 pm

    I’ve not been that impressed by Cheezly… I can never get it to melt. Microwave, grill, it just doesn’t work. I have a load of it sitting about and I just can’t bring myself to eat it, but I’m gonna try and make it into a pizza now.
    On another not, I’ve only recently decided to go vegan, and you blog has made what seemed like a scary prospect that much less trepidatious, so thank you, your blog has definitely helped me realise that I CAN eat food and not bizarre vegan goop from Mars!

  3. renae Said,

    December 15, 2010 @ 9:54 am

    anarchotoads, Welcome! I’m glad you’ve found my blog helpful! I’ve only had luck melting Cheezly at pizza temperatures (550 Fahrenheit for me), and even then it only “sort of” melts, so in that regard, it’s not as good as Teese or Daiya, which melt easily, although I’m guessing if you have loads of Cheezly sitting about, you are probably in the UK and can’t get those. We actually enjoy Cheezly (when we can get it) all by itself, on crackers, but if you’re a new vegan you may be far less impressed by it in that form. I suspect vegan cheese tastes much better to people who haven’t had real cheese in ages…and honestly, it doesn’t always taste good to those who haven’t either!

  4. f Said,

    November 5, 2011 @ 7:44 am

    If you go through Europe again, try Vegusto’s Melty No-Moo. It melts and tastes much, much closer to cheese than any other thing I got the chance to experience so far…
    Well, it’s Swiss-made, which might help, knowing the Swiss obsession with cheese (to the point that a study has shown they have special enzymes in their stomach to digest it better).

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