So what I did do? I had a party for one! When I got home from work Friday night, I pulled up Netflix and picked out a good movie (The Devil's Knot — the narrative film about the West Memphis Three). I poured myself a glass of petite syrah. And I made a fancy spread.
There are slices of toasted artisan garlic bread, dolmas, marinated mushrooms, roasted garlic cloves, olives, cherry tomatoes from my garden, baby carrots, slices of Braeburn apple, and two kinds of cheese from Miyoko's Creamery — Classic Double Cream Chive and Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash.
I was sent a few of Miyoko's cheeses to review, and since I'd reviewed most of the flavors before, I'm using those for recipes or sharing with others and getting their feedback. I've reviewed the Classic Double Cream Chive before here, and I'll be posting a sandwich recipe using it very soon (saving that for Vegan Mofo next month). It's melt-in-your-mouth creamy and popping with oniony flavor. Probably my second favorite of all Miyoko's nut cheeses.
But the Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash was totally new to me. And I wasn't sure what to expect. The outside is coated in black ash, so it's a little messy. But aren't most good things messy?
I don't know how to compare this cheese to a dairy counterpart because I was never into fancy cheeses before going vegan. I loved cheese back then, but I grew up in Arkansas, and my tastes are quite pedestrian. I was into American slices, Velveeta, and cheddar shreds, not stinky cheese with fancy names.
That said, I'm a little classier now (only a tad!), and I do appreciate a good, complex, aged cashew cheese. So while I can't describe what this compares to, I can tell you that it's a medium-soft cheese with a buttery flavor. There's a slight tang there, too, but it's not over-powering. Miyoko's website recommends pairing it with fruit, so I interspersed bites of the black ash cheese with bites of crisp apple. Perfect pairing!