If a tree falls in the woods, and there is nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound? If a cheese is made from tree nuts, and it contains no dairy, is it really cheese? The jury is still out on the former question, but when it comes to the latter, Michael Schwarz says the answer is a resounding yes.
Schwarz is the owner and founder of Treeline Cheese, a company located in Kingston, New York, that produces artisanal vegan cheeses that are also free of soy, cholesterol, and gluten. Made from Brazilian cashews, the cheeses are cultured with a probiotic and aged like “real” cheese.
“I try not to draw a direct parallel with dairy cheese,” says Schwarz. “My goal is to make non-dairy cheese that people will like for what it is.”
So far, so good. Treeline cheeses are available in 1,000 stores nationwide, including Whole Foods in White Plains, Port Chester, and Yonkers; Fairway in Pelham; and Mrs. Green’s in Hartsdale. There are two hard varieties (classic and cracked pepper) and four soft (chipotle-serrano, green peppercorn, herb-garlic, and scallion).
The hard cheeses can be “grated and put on pasta,” and the soft ones have a thick, creamy consistency—perfect for spreading on a baguette or bagel. They also pair well with wine. Try “a full-bodied red, like a Cabernet or Malbec,” says Schwarz.
A vegan and former intellectual property attorney, Schwarz founded Treeline because he “wanted to start a business that would make a contribution to the world.”
To the world and to our cheese plates.