IT may come as a bit of a surprise that I am writing about vegan cheese again so soon after the horrors of the Violife Dairy Free Platter which almost ruined Christmas. But it is down to that abomination I find myself with another of their vegan cheeses in my fridge, as a number of Adver readers took issue with my take on the festive alternative. I should stress that not one of the stone throwers jumped to the defence of Violife, but rather the vegan principles, which were never actually ever under attack.

As I said before, I would love to be vegan - purely on environmental grounds - but sadly that didn’t save my opinions from some rather militant members in the Swindon and Wiltshire Vegans Facebook group.

Allegedly my dislike of Violife gave one member a migraine; another said my column was not helping them at all (I fail to see how holding vegan cheese producers to account and demanding they improve their offering could possibly be seen as bad for anyone!); one woman questioned my journalistic credentials and there was even talk of letters to the editor. For a group that states that the world would be a boring place if we were all the same I was a little shocked my opinion was deemed to be “wrong”, and then disappointed I wasn’t allowed to join the group to defend my own opinion. But before this descends into the evils of (anti)social media, the good that came out of that column is that I now have a list of vegan cheeses to sample to try to win me over. Though it hasn’t been an easy start. Many of those suggested have been out of stock following what I can only assume to be a Christmas rush.

I thought I was in luck with Raw Food Rosie’s cashew-based cheese, which I ordered more than a week ago. But despite paying more for the postage than the £5 cheese, it still hadn’t arrived by the time I needed to pen this week’s column. I’m hoping it comes packed in it’s very own miniature fridge with a magnet on the door, otherwise it may not be in the best of states by the time it reaches Adver Towers.

So late Friday evening I found myself wandering the aisles of Asda in hope of a stand in. Sadly, variety wasn’t on the menu, and I was faced with Violife or, um, Violife (though thankfully not the festive dairy free platter - they’re no longer on sale to terrorise us). It was either burger slice cheese, or their take on cream cheese. Now one of my vegan friends told me “the soft spreadable ones are perfectly fine, it’s the hard cheese they haven’t yet mastered - neither in texture nor taste”. So I found myself walking to the check-outs with a 200g tub of Violife Creamy Original Flavour (£2.48), all the while muttering that if I didn’t like this one it was likely the vegans would put their strict diets to one side and eat me for breakfast. I was concerned about the “original flavour” part of the product’s name, as their take on Blu (without the e) cheese can only be described as an “original flavour”... a very bad original flavour.

But upon spreading this on a cracker, the first thing I noticed was just how similar it was to cream cheese. It’s perhaps a little thicker, and doesn’t quite share the same consistency, but the taste is remarkably similar. In fact, had we not known it was a dairy/soy/ gluten/lactose/nut/preservative free product we probably wouldn’t have guessed.

Predominantly made of coconut oil and grounded sunflower kernels, I’m happy to say it’s remarkably pleasant. It’s still no substitute for a dirty cut of brie, but it’s certainly a much happier step into vegan alternatives, and - I hope - a sign of more pleasant things to come