I've been a vegetarian for 17 years and have always been a curious eater, so whenever I see a new plant-based food on the shelves, I always add it to my cart. With this in mind, I've tried countless vegan and vegetarian meats, cheeses, milks, yogurts, and snacks, and honestly, I tend to prefer them over their dairy counterparts (mostly because they don't make me feel like I'm carrying a food baby).
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After discovering that the brand CheeseBoarder offers vegan charcuterie boards, I immediately wanted to do a taste test and the company kindly sent me two boards through Goldbelly so I could do just that. Since I don't eat meat, I also enlisted the help of fellow Hunker editor Eva Recinos, who isn't vegan or vegetarian, but is lactose-intolerant and loves a well-designed charcuterie board.
One of the boards was the "That Cheese Plate" Mezzo for 5-6 ($159), which was designed by cheese board expert Marissa Mullen, and the other was the Terra Vegan Cheese & Charcuterie Board for 12 ($249), but with a few different cheeses based on what was available. The latter also requires DIY assembly, while the former is presentation-ready thanks to Mullen's expertise.
This is what was included in the non-vegan Mezzo board: creamy Brie, espresso and lavender cheddar, Madagascar bourbon vanilla cheddar, apple smoked cheddar, cranberry goat, truffle salami, salami piccante, truffle Marcona almonds, sun-dried tomatoes, pepperoncini, roasted hazelnuts, dried papaya, dried Turkish figs, everything-flavored cashews, dried apricots, Prosecco cordials, mixed Italian olives, and packaged Rustic Bakery crackers.
As for the particular vegan board I was sent, it came with Live Plantfully Bacun and Sass'age, Miyoko's Creamery Double Cream Garlic Herb Cashew Milk Cheese, Thai Crystalized Ginger, truffle Marcona almonds, caramelized walnuts, fig jam, raspberry jam, a white chocolate heart filled with jelly beans, and six packages of Craize crackers. The following Vtopian Artisan Cheeses were also featured: Caramelized Onion Camembert, Port Cheddar, Spicy Cheddar, and Chive & Dill.
Overall, I preferred the vegan board and Eva would be happy with either — though she had mixed feelings about some of the vegan cheeses. Out of the five cheeses, Eva enjoyed the Miyoko's Creamery one most: "It was probably my favorite pick in terms of texture. And it also had herbs, which made for a more well-rounded flavor. Paired with the Sass'age and a cracker, it was a great bite (if you're dairy-free, but not vegan). I would gladly snack on it at a party."
My personal favorites were the Caramelized Onion Camembert (which reminded me of Trader Joe's Cheddar Cheese with Caramelized Onions) and Chive & Dill (would make for a great bagel spread!) from Vtopian. I also loved the Sass'age and thought that the included nuts — especially the truffle Marcona almonds — were some of the most flavorful I've ever had. I felt that the entire collection of vegan cheeses was creamy and cheese-like, and that they would go well with a variety of accompaniments. However, in my opinion, the best part about the entire board was that it didn't give me a stomachache.
As for the non-vegan board, it was beautifully prepared and delicious, but the dairy did not agree with my stomach. Out of all the ingredients included in that product, my favorites were the truffle Marcona almonds (again) and the everything-flavored cashews. In terms of the meat, Eva enjoyed both types of salami: "I was surprised by the truffle flavor. If you love trying different varieties of salami, these are fun ones to add."
Ultimately, I would say that the vegan charcuterie board held up from the perspective of both meat and non-meat eaters. However, you do have to prepare this board yourself, which could be a downside for those who don't want to go the DIY route. I also want to note that it is pricey at $259, but would be worth it for a sizable gathering or if you're splitting the cost. (And you won't have to worry about hunting down yummy vegan cheeses for those with dietary restrictions!)
To try a vegan charcuterie board for yourself — especially if dairy-based cheeses also don't agree with your digestive system — you can purchase the Terra or Noci boards. If you'd prefer to try the one constructed by Marissa Mullen, you can find it here. A larger size of her design can also be bought here.