I finally got my hands on the new Follow Your Heart Provolone Slices! I ate them plain and gave them the grilled cheese test to see how they held up.
I was pretty excited to hear that Follow Your Heart was putting out slices. They were one of the only vegan cheese options when I first went vegan back in 2006, and compared to more modern vegan cheeses, their blocks don't really stack up. I'm so glad that they're upping their game, because I have a soft spot in my heart for them.
Darrol Henry is delighted any time I have a new cheese to test out. He asks for cheese at almost every meal and when he draws "yummy food," cheese comes right after avocado but before tofu. He helped me taste test the Follow Your Heart Provolone Slices, but I waited until he was at daycare to make a grilled cheese sandwich with them. Because maybe I didn't want to share. I'm a monster.
Related: Field Roast Chao Slices Review
So here's a thing: I don't really know what Provolone tastes like. I have vague memories of cheddar, brie, Havarti, and Gouda. But Provolone just wasn't something I ever ate on a regular basis. In the spirit of giving these a thorough review, I asked my dairy-eating friends on Facebook to tell me what Provolone was like. Here are some of their descriptions:
"mild, creamy, and melts easily"
"sharper than mozzarella"
"basically like mozzarella in terms of mild taste except not stringy (more the texture of cheddar)."
"mildly salty with an acidic note. like a pretzel sprinkled with lemon juice, covered in yogurt."
One friend talked about sharper Provolones, but he seemed to be in the cheese minority.
FYH Provolone, On Its Own
I'd say that the Follow Your Heart Provolone aligns pretty well with the majority's descriptions of provolone. It's mildly cheesy. Nice and neutral. A little bit tangy, but not too tangy.
My only real beef with this cheese - as with most packaged foods - is the serving size. One slice is one serving. Y'all. Who eats one slice of cheese? My grilled cheese uses three slices, because I don't mess around.
Related: Earth Balance Mac and Cheese Review
Out of the container, I thought this was a good snacky cheese. I broke it into squares and packed some into Darrol Henry's lunch and didn't get a trace of it back in his lunch box at the end of the day. I also broke some into squares and ate it standing at my kitchen counter and couldn't resist repeating that experiment just once more. For you guys. The sacrifices I make!
I thought that the texture was nice. It was firm but pretty creamy. It had sort of a tangy-yet-earthy aftertaste that I liked a lot. Follow Your Heart Provolone made a nice snack with a couple of wedges of Granny Smith apple to go with! I think some thinly sliced Granny Smith would be nice in the grilled cheese recipe below, too.
Would Follow Your Heart Provolone pass as a dairy Provolone? As a friend and I were discussing, that's a tough call for a long-time vegan to make. Nine years without dairy has changed my palate for sure, but this definitely hits the cheese craving for me in a way that old school Follow Your Heart did not.
Follow Your Heart Provolone Grilled Cheese Test
The idea behind the grilled cheese test is to see how this cheese melts. I've noticed that even meltable vegan cheeses don't always melt well in a grilled cheese sandwich. FYH Provolone melted really evenly. This is a seriously creamy grilled cheese sandwich! I want to make this again but add thin slices of tart green apple.
Yield: 1 serving
- 2 slices Follow Your Heart Provolone
- Earth Balance or your favorite vegan margarine, to taste
- 2 slices of your favorite whole grain bread
- How this goes really depends on how buttery you like your grilled cheese. I wanted to let the FYH Provolone do the work, so I didn't butter the insides of my bread, like I usually would. I invite you to do whatever you like here. Grilled cheese is flexible.
- Either way, now you'll want to slap those cheese slices between the bread slices, and heat about a tablespoon of margarine in a large frying pan on medium heat.
- Toss the sandwich in there, and cook for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for 2 more.
- Repeat the 2 minutes/flip/2 minutes thing until both sides of your sandwich are nice and toasty-looking. Two rounds did it for me, but if you like your grilled cheese a little bit more toasted, go for a third round.
- Serve hot!