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Fresh nut-zarella! ‘Vegan cheese’ store serves pseudo-dairy in W’burg

Seeing colors: They may not melt the way you’d expect, but Dr. Cow’s “cheeses” come in all the colors of the rainbow.
for The Brooklyn Paper
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Say, “Dairy-free cheese!”

Williamsburg’s new so-called “vegan cheese” store, Brooklyn’s first, opened in May serving up surprising, nut-based simulations of the cow-derived staple. A wife-and-husband team runs the store and the pair say they consider their fare to be an equivalent, not an imitation, of actual cheese.

“We don’t pretend it tastes exactly like cheese, but the natural process gives it the same cheese flavor,” said co-owner Veronica Schwartz. “It’s just another kind of cheese, like goat or sheep, but animal-product free.”

The couple opened the shop after a decade of selling their specialty wares wholesale and said that the brick-and-mortar business has been a hit with local animal lovers and raw food enthusiasts.

“I like, no, love that a lot of people come in from the neighborho­od,” Schwartz said.

Browsing the case at Dr. Cow, shoppers won’t find the Camembert or Gruyere available down the street at Bedford Cheese Shop. Instead, the faux fromagerie offers colorful wheels of organic cashew “cheese” flavored with blue green algae, kale, or dulse flakes. Brazil and macadamia nuts also serve as the basis for counterfeit curds. A less-than-quarter-pound wheel will set you back $8.15, but Schwartz says she and hubby Pablo Castro are keeping the prices as low as possible.

“We want everybody to have access,” Schwartz said.

The concoctions are a far cry from the hydrogenated-oil-based science experiments on the shelves at Whole Foods Market. Dr. Cow’s pseudo-dairy blocks are made of raw ingredients, including imported Indonesian cashews, which the pair say are top-quality.

The process that goes into Dr. Cow’s bogus bovine products is similar to that which creates actual cheese. First, the make-believe-cheese mongers blend cashews into cashew milk and mix it with bacteria. Then they age the “cheese” for at east a month. The exception is the “cream cheese,” which they serve fresh for optimal richness.

The couple follow a raw, vegan diet and say they make all the food themselves to ensure quality.

“This is the way we live and the food we eat,” Schwartz said. “I would never serve something I wouldn’t eat myself.”

Both vegans and avid dairy consumers buy the stuff, Schwartz says. The shop also offers nut milk, desserts, pastries, and dietary supplements.

Dr. Cow “vegan cheese” store [93 S. Sixth St. between Bedford Avenue and Berry Street in Williamsburg, (718) 486–5919, www.dr-cow.com]. Monday–Sunday, 11 am–7 pm.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

BunnynSunny from Clinton Hill says:
Sounds like awful stuff. Cashew paste with bacteria. Why can't they just sell really good real cheese?
June 4, 2014, 1:03 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
"equivalent of actual cheese". Well lets give it a chance. I like cheese. Lets make some pizza........oh..........this doesn't melt like "actual cheese". WTF did cheese do? Cheese is awesome. You know why? BECAUSE IT'S MADE OF CHEESE!!!!!! Don't know what this hipster crap is, but it certainly is not cheese. Can't make pizza, can't make fondue, can't make grilled cheese, can't melt it on a burger. This is not cheese, it is another ironic hipster joke. The no pants, idiotrod, no grilled cheese phoney baloney transplant frankenfood fake BS. I do hope The Brooklyn Paper follows up on this in 12 months and see what Emperor's New Cloths Shop opens up after this failure closes. Want Cheese? Go to Bedford Cheese Shop. A bit pricey, but it's .........what do you hipsters call it?????????????? Oh, yeah......AUTHENTIC! THEY SELL ACTUAL, REAL LIFE, REALLY GOOD EFFFEN CHEESE!!
June 4, 2014, 7:40 pm
NYPD from NY says:
↑↑↑↑↑Can anyone make sense of this gibberish?↑↑↑↑↑
June 5, 2014, 10:33 am
SophiaElena from Brooklyn says:
BunnynSunny and SwampYankee, to your comments: Some people can't eat any dairy. It's nice to have an alternative. Food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities are a real thing and not always "on trend." It's unfortunate media and certain people create the "fad" attitude surrounding this subject. For some of us the choices of eating out are slim. This is because cross-contamination which happens on cutting boards and kitchen counters. It isn't fun telling the kitchen or chef you need an alternative when you know chefs work hard to create a menu they love. It isn't great to have the company of friends look at you like you are picky or high-maintenance. And it is awful when you eat something, didn't know about all the ingredients and end up with anaphylaxis, or full-blown nausea for eight hours. Peace.
June 6, 2014, 9:13 am
Anthony from Gravesend says:
Yea, and ya know.... Some of us don't eat dairy because we know it's wrong to exploit a persons body that way. That ideology is not a "fad", that is a growing trend because people are waking up to what's going on in this world. The "plant based diet" is a fad, not veganism.
June 8, 2014, 7:24 am
Sandy W from Virginia Beach says:
Cashew paste with bacteria? Please Google how dairy based cheeses are made. I love dairy cheese, but am thrilled to have read about Dr. Cow so I can substitute with these cheeses sometimes. I have added the shop to my "Must Do" list for my next visit to Williamsburg.
July 3, 2014, 10:16 am
Kristen from Bushwick says:
BunnynSunny, they can't "just sell really good real cheese" because they have chosen a vegan diet and want to provide a product for others who have done the same. If you haven't, you're welcome to simply go elsewhere. Though maybe you should try it before dismissing it so quickly seeing the amount of passion and care the owners seem to put into it. SwampYankee, some people choose to be open-minded and live with compassion. It's funny how some get so offended and in an uproar when it comes to anything to do with vegetarianism or veganism. People eating vegan is not hurting you any, except maybe to serve as a reminder of your own contribution to the suffering of innocent animals. I've been vegetarian for nearly 5 years and vegan for 2 and I'm never one to judge anyone else's dietary choices, that is until they pass judgment on mine. Veganism is a way of living healthily and with a clear conscience, not just a hipster fad. Trust me, hipsters annoy me as much as the next guy. Now go enjoy your cheese-smothered hamburger and refrain from making ignorant comments about things you know little about.
Nov. 21, 2014, 11:55 am

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