So, Chao came out a few months ago by the company Field Roast (the makers of Celebration Roast, Apple Maple Breakfast Sausage, and other beloved meat substitutes). This cheese came with lots of rave reviews and has tended to sell out of stock pretty quickly from market shelves, and I can see why.
It melts. It tastes DELICIOUS. It's got great texture. It is EVERYTHING I want in a non-dairy cheese. I am proud to share it with others, whereas with other cheeses like Daiya and Follow Your Heart I was like -- eh, didn't want to scare anyone away who might have been considering a vegan diet. Not to knock those cheeses, they are good, but in certain things only. Chao is more versatile and more CHEESE-like! It is fabulous and I cannot say enough good things about this non-dairy cheese!
Now, I have only tried the Creamy Original flavor of Field Roast Chao cheese, but I hear the other two varieties (Tomato Cayenne and Coconut Herb) are spectacular as well. I am really looking forward to trying the Tomato Cayenne in some queso dip!
The description of Chao cheeses at the Field Roast site is as follows:
...a vegan coconut cheese alternative seasoned with a traditionally fermented soybean curd called Chao by the Vietnamese. We continue our fascination with blending Asian and European heritages by partnering with a Greek cheese maker and a family in Taiwan who makes the Chao. We bring it all together in Seattle to create Chao Slices.
Serving Suggestions: Make a deli sandwich with Field Roast Deli Slices. Slap onto of one of our new hand-formed Field Roast Burgers. Slice into salads or just eat ‘em plain! Grilled cheese, anyone?
I have tried the Chao Creamy Original Cheese on crackers cold, in grilled cheese (of course!), in quesadillas, on "deli" sandwiches, and plain by the slice. WINS in every situation across the board. Delicious. The only downfall is that it's a bit expensive. I pay over $7 a pack for ten thick slices. It is worth it for an occasional treat. Hopefully the price will decrease a bit soon.
If you haven't tried it, TRY IT! You don't know what you're missing! (Don't you hate it when people say that to you?!) YUM! ; )