The main problem I find with the vegan cheeses is that when they are melted (cheese on toast / pizza / grated onto pasta) they feel like a melted plastic. The really annoying thing is the way the substance then sticks to the roof of the mouth - it's really unpleasant. This is the part I think the producers really need to work on. This problem has largely lead to me not trying new options as they were released, however I've tried a few and the latest is definitely the best I've tried.
Cathedral City: Plant-based Cheddar - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Block / Slices / Grated
This plant-based cheese was launched in the second half of 2022 and there are three different options to buy; a block, a pack of slices, or a bag of grated. At launch this is only available in Tesco. So far I have tried the block. It may be a game-changer!
The block is very cheese-like and slices fairly well. If you try to keep the slices very thin you may find they break up, but other than that it behaves in the same way as dairy cheese. I have also grated it and again it worked pretty well, if anything it may have been a little on the crumbly side but it was fine.
The smell and flavour is on-par with a mature or extra mature of cheddar which I found quite good as it meant there is lots of flavour. I've had it in a sandwich with pickle and also with Marmite and it was very good.
One of the big tests is how it copes with being melted. The first time I did this was with my vintage 1980s Breville sandwich maker and it melted very well. Much better than other vegan cheeses that I had tried in the past. The key thing here is that the 'melted-plastic' substance that lots of vegan cheeses turn into didn't seem to happen to the same extent with this cheese. It wasn't exactly the same as dairy cheese, but definitely the best I've tried.
I would really like to try the cheese-on-toast test, but at the moment I do not have a grill so this will have to wait for now. For cheese on toast I really like to cook it until it starts to crisp-up on top and take on a golden colour, and I really hope I can achieve this with this vegan option. I will report back once I've had a chance to try it.
Verdict: This is very likely to be the best vegan cheddar out there. I will certainly buy it again.
Asda: Vegan Cheddar - ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
I tried this quite a few years ago and I'm not totally sure if it is still available. However it was the best one I had tried. I haven't had it for years, but I'm going to say the Cathedral City has now pushed this into second place.
Marks and Spencer: Plant-based Slices - ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
I've bought this a few times, mostly because I have an M&S very close to home and it is easy to pick up at short notice. The slices are ok, but I haven't really tested them in all situations.