Here in the United States we’re on the brink of the golden age of artisanal vegan cheesemaking. Vegan cheesemakers are popping up left, right and center and we’re seeing new and different styles with exciting developments and vibrant flavors. Farther afield, when we’re abroad, we still often struggle to find local artisanal vegan cheeses though. Fortunately during our time in Melbourne we discovered the new and emerging Sprout & Kernel tree nut cheeses out of Newtown, Sydney.
Less than a year ago Sprout & Kernel started making tree nut cheeses to sell at local markets. Sprout & Kernel Founder Becc wanted to create a product that was really delicious and as natural as possible, free of nasties like preservatives and colors. She knew it could be done because that’s the way she has been making their cashew cheese at home for more than 5 years. She would make cheese for herself and friends, then for friends of friends, then for rooms of people coming to see how it’s done at workshops. There was definitely an interest in a dairy free cheese alternative that was different from the soy alternatives out there, along with an interest in it being locally made.
“From the start I’ve been surrounded by the most supportive, encouraging and straight up wonderful folk – we would not be able to do what we do without them.” — Becc, Sprout & Kernel Founder
Sprout & Kernel tree nut cheeses are vegan, soy and dairy free. For the most up to date list of products, visit Sprout & Kernel.
where to purchase
Sprout and Kernel is currently only available in Australia and can be found in select stores in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. For updates on where you can find Sprout and Kernel, visit their Facebook or their current stockists updates here.
First impressions when we opened our package was how cute the labeling is. Clean and simple packaging with the ingredients listed on the back. Cheeses are relatively small but sufficient for a cheeseboard, a recipe that calls for cheese or just to have around for a few snacks. Once opened I would recommend storing them in plastic wrap, a sealed container or rewrapping tightly and sealing in original packaging to prevent the cheeses from drying out. We enjoyed these cheeses with fresh bread, fruit and crackers and found them to be exceptionally well suited for a crisp, dry and neutral cracker. The use of different nuts in these cheeses gives each one a unique appearance, aroma and flavor but they all have a distinct nuttiness when you open the packaging.
Aged Brazil & Cashew Cheese
Ingredients: Brazil nuts, cashews, rejuvelac and himalayan pink salt.
The driest cheese by far and the most nutty. When we initially opened it we were surprised by the strong nuttiness that could have been off-putting but once we tasted it we came to enjoy and appreciate the unique and robust brazil nut flavor. The hardest one to slice, in fact you could crumble or shave this cheese and get a lovely parmesan like topping. This is the first time we have tried a brazil nut based cheese.
Aged Cashew Cheese
Ingredients: Cashews, rejuvelac, canola oil, citric acid and himalayan pink salt.
Drier than the cashew log, but similarly tart with slightly sour flavors. Fairly firm and breaks down well when cooked with vegan butter, nut milk and flour to make a smooth cheese sauce for mac n cheeze.
Little Sister Macadamia Cheddar
Ingredients: Macadamias, rejuvelac, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, himalayan pink salt, garlic and onion.
Inside this dark, dry crust is a whiter and creamier interior than the Monster Cheddar, this cheese also had more garlic and onion notes. Detected a slight sweetness but not as sweet as the Monster Cheddar. Lovely savory notes combined with a soft texture and a neutral nut made this our second favorite Sprout & Kernel tree nut cheese.
Ingredients: Cashews, rejuvelac, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, himalayn pink salt, garlic and onion.
This cheese had sweet notes to it and had less flavor than the Little Sister Macadamia Cheddar. A nice aroma when we opened it but couldn’t pick up the onion and garlic when we tasted it. Nice firm exterior with a soft and creamy interior that spreads well.
The Original Pepper Crust Cashew Log
Ingredients: Cashews, rejuvelac, canola oil, citric acid, himalayan pink salt, and pepper.
Soft, spreadable and a bit moist but still held together as a cheese log. Tart cheesy flavors with firm pepper accents make this our favorite Sprout & Kernel cheese to spread on bread or crackers for a snack. If we had to get one Sprout & Kernel tree nut cheese again it would be this one. We love that it was soft and creamy.