In addition to being a chocoholic I am also a cheeseholic. I grew up eating tons of cheese, there were soft creamy cheese spreads that came in dozen of flavors (kind of like a cream cheese here), hard Emmental (Swiss cheese) with holes (as a kid I believed that the holes were chewed by mice), "moldy" blue cheese, brie, Babybel cheese wrapped in a wax coating, and smelly cheese that was aged on top of raw meat and had to be stored in a glass container or on the balcony otherwise it would stink up the whole house. One of my favorite cheeses was a blue cheese though. I used to eat it plain or shredded over hot potatoes or pasta. I would make creamy spread from blue cheese and butter.
When I first became a vegetarian at the age of 15, I would eat even more cheese and yogurts to make up for the missing meat protein in my diet. Back then I didn't know or didn't think that dairy was bad, gross, or cruel. Eating cheese and drinking milk was always a very cultural thing in Czech Republic. Czech Republic was not very friendly towards vegetarians or vegans back then. If you went to a restaurant and wanted some vegetarian meal, the only option was a breaded deep fried cheese with french fries. In fast food restaurants or at the street stands the only vegetarian option was a breaded deep fried cheese in a bun with tartar sauce or ketchup. My family rarely ate out so I would enjoy the deep fried cheese as a treat. Sometimes I would make it at home. I almost lived on bread and cheese. I haven't tasted a cheddar cheese until I was about 18 years old. I was working for an English family and they had cheddar cheese at home. I fell in love with the cheese. I could not get enough of it. I found out that I could buy it at a specialty store even though it was insanely expensive. The same family also introduced me to sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil and peanut butter.
When I moved to USA I continued eating tons of cheese and since cheddar cheese was cheap and easily available, I would indulge myself daily, plus I would buy snacks with cheddar flavors. Things changed dramatically when I found out that most of my beloved cheese contained rennet that came from calves stomachs. I was horrified and stopped eating any cheese with animal rennet. Unfortunately there were some companies that used a vegetarian rennet instead so I continued feeding my cheese addiction. Later I realized how nasty and cruel the dairy industry was and stopped eating cheese and drinking milk. That was the beginning of my veganism. I also stopped eating eggs and other animal by-products. The eggs I didn't miss at all, but I missed the cheese. I tried to find a delicious vegan cheese that would taste good, melt easily and that I could eat plain (not just added to food). Most vegan options were nasty, weird, waxy or had funky textures. Luckily I saw some European vegan cheese options online about 2 years ago. They were made in Scotland by Sheese company. I thought that this would be the last chance that I would give to a vegan cheese. I ordered the Blue variety and.......WOW! It was a love at a first bite. Until then I could not eat any vegan cheese plain the way I used to eat a dairy cheese. With Sheese I can enjoy it as it is. The taste is very similar (not exactly the same) to a real blue cheese. The color is white without any blue or green spots, but it smells like blue cheese and tastes wonderful.