Go Veggie! Parmesan Style Topping Review
This Go Veggie! Parmesan Cheese substitute has received many good reviews from the Vegan and Vegetarian community, but has been less highly praised by those who enjoy the real thing.
I can certainly respect the choices of those who do not consume dairy, or other animal products, for health or ethical reasons, but, at the same time, I feel sorry for anyone who needs to resort to artificial soy-based cheese products such as this. I had one experience with this ‘Parmesan Style Topping’… there will not be another.
The Ingredients themselves are listed as being:
Soy Base (soy protein concentrate, filtered water), Instantized Rice Flour, Coconut Oil, Rice Maltodextrin, Natural Flavors, Rice Flour, Rice Meal, Tricalcium Phosphate, Vegetable Glycerin, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Vitamin A Acetate, Soy Lecithin.
It is not all that easy to reconcile the nutritional information with the ingredient list, or general standards of accuracy/honesty. The Nutritional information advised that 2 tsp represent 5 grams of product, and 20 calories of food energy, but, by simple math (9 calories per gram of fat, and 4 calories for each gram of protein and carbohydrate). I reckon it at 21 Calories. A small difference perhaps, but why not put the right figure?
I do not find any of the listed ingredients alarming in any way. Citric and Lactic acids are used, but the rest of the taste components are identified only as ‘Natural Flavors’ … this sounds almost encouraging, I suppose, until you consider that cow manure, rotten potatoes, and nail clippings also have flavors that are, indisputably ‘natural’…
The company has genuinely managed to achieve some semblance of similarity to regular Parmesan Cheese as far as appearance goes. However, I should hasten to add that, by ‘Regular Parmesan Cheese’ I mean the grated stuff in plastic containers you get at supermarkets, and not cheese grated from a genuine wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy.
Quite a number of reviews I have seen, notably at Amazon, complained that the Go Veggie! Parmesan product they purchased had ‘clumped’ together in a solid mass and was consequently very difficult to use. I did not have that experience when I tried it, although I quite often do with the supermarket varieties of actual cheese.
The Aroma and Taste
The Aroma? Well… this should more properly be referred to as the ‘Odor’ rather than the ‘Aroma’, as the latter suggests something with positive aesthetic qualities. To be fair, of course, actual Parmesan Cheese has aromas that many people find almost offensive (comparisons to vomit and sweaty socks come to mind), but here, there was an additional, aspect to this condiment that was… well, ‘un-food-like’. I cannot express it any better than that, except to say that, even though Parmesan Cheese may be an acquired taste (in the olfactory sense), this was very off-putting indeed.
Even with the initial misgivings occasioned by the smell, I persevered, and moved on to a taste test by sprinkling the (ahem) cheese onto a small plate of boiled spaghetti tossed with a dab of butter. The effect, to be honest, was not quite as horrible as the aroma suggested, I actually finished it all, but, while the overall experience wasn’t too far removed from having a plate of pasta with real cheese, it wasn’t nearly close enough to make me want to repeat it any time soon.
Sympathies to all who cannot, or don’t wish to consume real Parmesan Cheese, but are instead forced to rely on products of this ilk. Go Veggie!™ Parmesan-Style Topping looks a bit like cheese but the favorable comparison ends there. Some people claim to enjoy it but, for this reviewer, it is an epic fail.