Four ways to hurdle the cheese hump

I’ve been an occasional cheese binger — using infrequent forays to Southville Market to load up on chunks and truckles and stuff myself into oblivion on a Sunday afternoon. For others like my long-time vegetarian friend, cheese has been a handy source of protein that’s insidiously sneaked its way into every other meal and is starting to outstay its welcome.

For all of us wanting to give dairy products the swerve in favour of a more plant-based diet there are lots of colourful concoctions to explore, but what about those dishes and times that just need something yellow, melty and tangy?

Sneaky cheese board invaders

For those that only occasionally indulge, the magic of Christmas (or any family gathering)  can lead to feverish binging at buffet tables. The stinkiest bishops, bolshiest stiltons, and inexplicable but ever festive wensleydale with cranberries lead you into a trance-like state where you’re soon lying on a sofa clutching your stomach, face smeared with chutney. But no more cheese sweats. Now there are an ever-improving array of non-dairy cheeses that you can slip on to the board and take part in the usual gluttony with minimal questioning from loved ones. And let’s face it — it’s all about the carbs and condiments anyway.

Local culture without mouldy cultures

In Somerset it’s hard to avoid the message that it’s good to gorge on cheddar, especially when washed down with scrumpy.  When travelling further afield cheese can provide a cheap way of trying out the food of other cultures: munching on manchego in Madrid, coating your tongue in camembert in Calais and feeling the mozzarella from a margherita melt down your chin in Naples. While some of our friends across the water may be yet to embrace Bristol’s growing flexi approach to food, they’ve been mastering delectable veggie dishes and street food for eons. If you look, you shall find…

Pizza with the best bits left in

The doughy round disc slathered in tomato puree just wouldn’t be the same without a melting pool of yellow stuff … would it? Dairy-free cheese has got this covered (‘scuse the pun) with a variety of brands providing stuff that will melt and hold as many veggies, chillis and herbs that you can stick on top. Keep your eyes peeled in supermarket ‘free from’ sections, head to your local health food store and check out The Better Food Company. The joy of pizza can be the lazy indulgence of ordering it in — continue one of life’s pleasures with the organic offerings of Pepenero Italian Fast Food & Pizzeria. If you’re after a cheap eat-out then head to Planet Pizza on Gloucester Road.

Comfort on the couch

Mid-week blues, rainy nights and hangover Sundays: these are the perfect conditions for hunkering down at home in your loosest pajama bottoms and and tucking into something soothing and stodgy. How about going the extra mile with ‘cheese’ on toast or a grilled sarnie. If you’re feeding friends and family then Jamie Oliver’s carby feast or a luxury lasagne will leave them stuffed. For exploring more fancy-pants dairy free delicacies at home, recommended recipe books include Miyoko Schinner’s Artisan Vegan Cheese — check out her recipe for fondue.

Have these ideas helped your need for cheese? Share and tell @FlexiBristol

What to do without cheese?