Thursday, August 26, 2010

Product Review - Uptons Natural Seitan and Smoked Cheddar Style Sheese

Before I delve in to the review I just wanted to shoot out a couple of reminders. Don't forget about the Men Who Cook 2010 Challenge and Giveaway. Men can show off their mad kitchen skillz and get a chance to win the most awesome American Vegan Kitchen cookbook by Tami Noyes from Vegan Appetite! Entries must be submitted before September 8th. Click here for contest details and get those boyz cookin'!

Also coming up is the next Food Network Friday Challenge. This week we're taking on Tyler Florence in honor of the new FN show The Great Food Truck Race. Each of us will put our spin on his Double Dipped Fried Chicken recipe. It's a lot of fun, so I hope you can join in. Do your thing with the recipe and post a link at Vegan Appetite or e-mail Tami with your creation.

While I was visiting in Chicago in July I had the pleasure of meeting up with Liz from Cooking the Vegan Books and Tami from Vegan Appetite. We had great fun talking food, partaking in adult beverages, and enjoying the city together. The only complaint I have as that our time together was too short. Liz was kind enough to bring me some Sheese products all the way from the UK. Sheese makes some amazing tasting vegan cheese products. I had tried the blue cheese variety when I visited Portland last year and really liked it. Sadly, I left Liz's gift at my mom's house when I retured to AZ. My neice just happened to visit a couple of weeks ago and brought the Sheese back for me. Yay for awesome neices!

So finally I get my goods. Sheese freezes and travels quite nicely by the way. It is actually produced by a company out of Scottland called Bute Island Foods. I have yet to find it here in the Phoenix area, but you can order it online. The company has a really nice website that gives you information on where you can find their product in the U.S. Last night I opened the Smoked Cheddar flavor. It has a nice smoky smell. The texture is nice and firm and wonderful for grating. Grate it I did. I also tasted it before cooking it. The texture will not fool you into believing it is dairy cheeses, but it did not offend like some other brands. We thought it tasted more like smoked Gouda than Cheddar...which for me is a big plus. I love that Gouda flavor. I made a chorizo and cheddar quesadilla. I have to say it didn't melt really well, but no matter, it was really tasty on the quesadilla. Just a word of warning: if you are looking for the ooey gooey melty texture you will be disappointed. If you are looking for a yummy tasting alternative to cheese, this is it.

Also featured in last night's quesadilla is a product I had never heard of: Upton's Natural Chorizo Style Seitan. Upton's is based in Chicago. They boast all natural seitan products that are all vegan and low soy. Their products can be found in several states, but sadly not AZ. However, they do sell their products online through Vegan Essentials. I chose the chorizo style seitan. I used to love the spices and flavors or chorizo (both Mexican and Spanish style). The texture of Upton's chorizo was much like that of ground beef. It was closer to Mexican style than Spanish style, but it was much drier than the chorizo I've had in the past. This is not necessarily a bad thing depending on how you use it. I think it would work quite well in burritos or enchiladas. The spice mix is a little weak for my taste, but if you are a little leary of a lot of spice and heat, this might be just the product for you. It is very easy and convenient to use. It crumbles very nicely. I love the fact that it is truly a natural product and made in my kinda town.

Here you can see the cheeze is not very melty, but it was oh so tasty

When you put both products together, you get a quick and tasty snack or meal. I added a bit of chopped onion and jalapeno and called it dinner. I try not to use processed food too often, but I would use both of these products again. I do hope to see these products here in the future. I liked them both better than a couple of other products we have in the valley.

For those of you who are not vegan or are just starting to embark in meat/dairy substitutes, always keep in mind these products are not meant to be identical to their animal derived counterparts. You must enjoy them for what they do offer and that is tasty flavors and interesting textures.


  1. Ugh!I just ordered from Vegan Essentials and never thought to check Upton's. I meant to try it in Chicago, but didn't.

    The quesadilla looks delicious!

  2. I liked the Upton's over Whitewave seitan. But it only comes in crumbles, which won't always work for all applications. I still prefer to make my own, but this is a good product in a pinch or if someone is not up to making seitan on their own.

  3. I just about the Uptons Natural Seitan yesterday, I had never heard of it or seen it until yesterday at Whole Foods, I am glad you like it! I got the chorizo one too because I thought it would make some of those Viva Vegan recipes one step easier :)

  4. Hey! Thanks for checking out our chorizo! We are really glad to hear that you enjoyed it. Our chorizo, Italian, and ground beef styles of seitan do come in crumbles (which mimic the consistency of those products), but our traditional style comes in larger chunks like what you may be used to with other brands. Thanks again!

  5. It was a pleasure trying your seitan. I hope you will think about distributing it here in Arizona. I think it is a really nice product.

  6. We are always working on expanding to other regions when we can! You can follow us on FB or Twitter to find out when we become available in other areas. Thanks again!!

  7. Kim, what a great pick! Your coating looks sooo good!