You don’t have to be lactose intolerant or vegan to love Unmoo
– By the Veggie Fairy Team
Unmoo is a new Richmond company making plant-based cheeses and butter that our Farmer Connector Sam has declared to be, “Amazing!” These artisan cheeses made from the milk of cashews and coconuts have their own unique flavors that people who can’t eat dairy will be grateful for… and the rest of us will want to add to our pizza-, cracker-, sandwich-, and bagel-topping repertoire.
Josh is the man behind it all. Josh loves eggnog. And cheese. And butter. But those dairy products don’t love Josh. Like a lot of lactose intolerant people, the Richmonder can’t eat dairy without suffering some very unpleasant consequences.
So, having studied microbiology, Josh put on his labcoat, gathered milk from cashews and coconuts, and experimented his way to some delicious solutions. First he won over his friends with his lactose-free spiked eggnog. (He was a bartender before he was a scientist.) Then he started working on cheese.
Cheese making is an ancient process of culturing milk. It’s possible to make cheese fast without a culture (plastic-wrapped yellow American slices, anyone?), but using a culture helps good bacteria in the milk flourish and leads to a more fully developed flavor in the final cheese, especially when you brine it and give it time to age, too. That’s how Josh makes his plant-based cheese.
The ingredients are important, too. So the nuts Josh uses are all high quality, fair trade, and sustainably grown — just like everything else in our home-delivered farmers market.
Plant-based cheese #1: Notz
The first cheese Josh invented is Notz. You can see it in its natural state in the picture at the top of this post. It looks like mozzarella, white and semi-firm. But Notz, which is made from cashews and coconut, has a special flavor all its own — mild and buttery, yet tangy, with a creamy texture. It’s lightly brined, gently aged, meltable, shreddable, and really versatile. You can cut it into thick slices and eat it cold with a fresh local tomato and basil…
…or shred it and serve it warm and melty atop pizza, zucchini, or whatever you can think of. You can even fry it. But don’t tell your doctor.
Plant-based cheese #2: AM
Josh’s next cheese creation is made from cashews. He calls it AM, after the time of day when he recommends you devour it: morning. Slather it on bagels, danishes, toast, or if you’re feeling really decadent and rebellious, cheesecake. AM is raw and probiotic, and brightens with age. The flavor can be described as rich, bright, sweet, and creamy. Use it to dip, schmear, or bake.
He didn’t stop at cheese…
Plant-based butter: Nutter
Josh describes his European-style butter as assertive, rich, buttery butter. It’s made from cashews and coconuts and the cashew cream is slow-cultured before it’s churned out. Nutter can be spread, sauteed, baked, or whatever you use butter for.
The results of all Josh’s experiments are delicious — so good you’ll enjoy it whether you’re lactose intolerant, vegan, or just looking to expand the cheesy delights in your life. Josh’s locally made cheeses and butter are started to pop up in Virginia restaurants and markets, and we’re excited to welcome Unmoo to our market, too!
Learn more in the Style Weekly profile of Josh and Unmoo.
Check out Unmoo on Instagram and get inspired!
ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS
Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, pastured eggs, grassfed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.