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Sainsburys hard cheese.

Sainsburys hard cheese is made with Microbial Rennet according to the website. I thought that this was vegetarian?

Veggie parmesan


I think someone has mentioned this already, but Bookhams do a parmesan style cheese, and it's pretty reasonably priced. Can be ordered online at http://www.bookhams.com/cheese/twineham-grange.html

Parmesan again!

Not only have I informed the people at The Moor & Pheasant near Thirsk that Parmesan is not vegetarian but have informed the editor of the Darlington & Stockton Times, who wrote in a review that it catered well for vegetarians.  A dish containing Parmesan was labelled as vegetarian but it turns out that there wasn't a single vegetarian main course on the menu.  Of course they say in their e-mail that the chefs can modify dishes to suit individual requirements so I'm now going to try to persuade them to say so on the website.  I have also pointed out that both their only veggie starter and their only veggie sandwich contain cheese but that not all vegetarians eat cheese.  I don't usually mention 'vegan' at the outset.

I suggest that everyone who has this and similar problems suggest that the chefs concerned may like to look at www.ivu.org/recipes, where there are more than 3,000 recipes.  What I don't usually mention is that they are actually all vegan!

I also always give the URL for the appropriate pages of the VegSoc and Vegan Soc. websites.

Patricia (Local Contact in N. Yorkshire)

Vegetarian Parmesan Replacement - FOUND

Hi all,

I have found a vegetarian hard fat cheese, that can be used when parmesan is called for. It is in Sainsbury's and is part of their basics range, I buy it in bulk and can enjoy pesto now! ummm


Still so much confusion...

We went to an actual vegetarian restaurant last weekend and they had parmesan in many of their dishes. I despair....

Vegan parmesan available

Although Life From are no longer in business (& thus their Parmesano is no longer available anywhere), the good folk at Redwood Wholefoods have come up trumps and started producing a vegan 'parmesan style' cheese (it sill irks me that we can't simply label vegan versions of dairy products as "milk", "yogurt", etc. but have to call them "alternatives to...!"). Parmesan-style Cheezly (see http://www.redwoodfoods.co.uk/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage_images2.tpl&product_id=108&category_id=19&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1) is available in 190g packs at around £2.20. Production is not yet up to full capacity yet, but keep asking Redwoods & your local independent wholefood/healthfood store as it's the only vegan/veggie version I know of.

Please Vegetarian Society can you update your Say Cheese campaign webpage to reflect this; it currenlty mentions 2 alternatives (the aforementioned Life From's Parmesano being one) neither of which are made anymore!


Tracey in Croydon

Horrified- I eat parmesan all the time!

I just read this today and I was so shocked. I have been a vegatarian all my life, and ive always liked parmesan! I'm really shocked, and I think companies should be more clear as the normal vegatarian that isnt vegan can eat cheese, and I would never had thought to check. This means that without knowing it I have been eating animals all my life! Of course I wont eat it in the future now I know, but I cant get over the thought that ive been eating meat...

Too frustrating....why can't vegetarians be catered for in 2012???

I have been a vegetarian since the late 80's & see that dietary needs a far better catered for now more than ever so why is it that there isn't a vegetarian equivalent to parmesan?  I, like many others have managed to avoid parmesan but I found a very tasty looking receipe that requires making a pesto and pesto contains parmesan...so it's not vegetarian and this is in a Weight Watchers receipe book!  I have searched the internet to no avail so if anyone has found a vege hard cheese please let me know thank you

A hard cheese to replace parmesan.

We make a cheese called Old Winchester, that makes an exelent replacement for Parmesan. Made on the farm with our own cows milk, in the New Forest, using vegetarian rennet. Find it in good cheese shops or deli counters, and Hampshire Farmers Markets. www.lyburncheese.co.uk Have a look at the post below 20/5/11.

Regards Mike

Re Sainsbury's Hard Cheese (Parmesan-style)

It's listed on their website as using microbial rennet - which is vegetarian?

Sainsburys Hard Cheese

Disappointed to find that the Sainsburys 'Basics Hard Cheese' I have relied on for years is no longer Veggie-friendly. They have recently started including rennet in their recipe.

Anyone else who used to buy this cheese might want to join me in contacting Sainsburys about this. Such a shame as it is very difficult to find a veggie alternative to parmesan in the supermarkets.


Any suggestions as to what I can use instead much appreciated!

Question About Parmesan Alternatives

Hi All,

I have long been looking for a parmesan alternative to make risotto with for my vegetarian mother.

I cannot use the Bookhams cheese or the Sainsbury's Basics hard cheese because they both contain egg, which my mum doesn't eat, as she is a strict vegetarian.

I know that my brother, who is vegan, has found a vegan alternative which is not cheese at all, but I am wondering if there is any true vegetarian, eggless, hard cheese for use in italian dishes. Are there any varieties of Grana Padano, for example, that are vegetarian? If anyone can help me solve this mystery I'd be extremely grateful.

Weight Watchers veggie options

Just signed up for weight watchers and found that a sizable number of their 'vegetarian' options list parmesan as an ingredient.

Also they have a page on using the best possible ingredients telling people to be sure to use proper parmesan, so they definitely do mean the non-veggie type!

Didn't copy my message before it was submitted, but included a link to this page. I'll post any response received


Tesco magazine error

The magazine I picked up at Tesco recently had a section on vegetarian food with really good recipes, except one had Parmesan in it.  I contacted the magazine by email pointing this out politely, and didn't receive a response.  I can understand Tesco not realising their mistake - until the Veg Society pointed it out to me I had no idea either - but they are not taking it seriously. 

Slimming World Green

In all other aspects (ex the price) I Love slimming world as I have lost over 1 stone on 'Green' but this V marked Parmesan thing is so annoying. I rang the people who deal with the website and the publications, the lady was very nice and did seem to have an idea that Parmesan and the like can never be veggie and said she would 'pass it on to her colleagues' I seriously doubt anything will change. I would just like a side note about the cheese on the recipes and an alternative stated that is on plan as the cheese itself is not really that great for the plan. Whilst I was on with her I had a general moan about SW attitute to veggies, although better than most organisations, it is very slanted toward meat eaters whilst we veggies still pay the same fees for I feel, a lesser service, less recipes less group thereapy (how can a group of meat eaters help me really when it comes to my personal weight loss?Anyway at least on SW I now have to stay clear of ready meals as my local Morrisons has seriously sidelined V options in a recent refit, they dont seem to ever mark anything 'V' which isnt but if I want tomato pasta (about all they do) Ill open a tin of toms and do it myself. Rant over!

River Cottage Veg Everyday not so veg!
I am so mad that the first recipe in the River Cottage Veg Everyday cookery book lists Parmesan in the ingredients. I have added my comments on the River Cottage forum on which there is an actual Parmesan thread http://www.rivercottage.net/forum/debate/food-matters/vegetarians-the-great-parmesan-debate/p:2/ Please. please, please will the Vegetarian Society also contact Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall and inform him of his error.

This is my post in his forum: "The Vegetarian Society does not allow products containing Parmesan to labelled as suitable for vegetarians. Parmesan/Parmigiano-Reggiano is an EU Protected Designation of Origin product and has to be made using calf rennet, so it's definitely not suitable for vegetarians. It's either suitable for vegetarians or it's Parmesan...it cannot be both. There are plenty of vegetarian alternatives.


To be honest, I am so tired of restaurants serving Parmesan on vegetarian dishes and the ignorance of people in the food industry. All moral, ethical, personal arguments aside, PARMESAN IS NOT AND NEVER WILL BE suitable for vegetarians. Roll on 2014 when the legal definition of vegetarian and vegan will be ratified."



Mr Filberts Nuts

I like some of the flavours of Mr Filberts nuts and they generally use natural ingredients, so I was happy to try another flavour. I picked up the Pomodoro peanuts, but was disappointed to find that they include Parmesan. However, the packaging stated 'suitable for vegetarian'. I have contacted the company and pointed out the DOC status and that it contains calf rennet. I asked that the packaging be changed to avoid confusion - I'll update you if I get a response.

Update: I've had a response from the company - they were grateful for pointing it out, and have taken steps to change their packaging.


Slimming World - a national food organisation that has Parmesan in 'V' recipes

The Green plan is for veggies (although you can eat meat on it) SW is very much into quorn so accepts veggie lifestyle but still a lot of their Green recipies in their Green recipe book have Parmesan in. I think this is due to the recipies coming from meat eating members who wish to cut down on meat and dont know any better,  but isnt that the ediors job? Only in first week so will talk to my consultant.

My response from the BBC

This is how the BBC responded to my last complaint:

"There are some vegetarian parmesan-style cheeses produced in the UK such as Twineham Grange. For this reason, recipes calling for 'parmesan' are included as 'vegetarian' in BBC Food's recipe database in order to provide a wide range of recipes."

I've replied asking if they will label their sausage recipes as vegetarian, as there are so many vegetarian sausages!


AJ Gray, Manchester

Marks and Spencer again

The Marks and Spencer website has a vegetarian recipe section. Which contains parmesan....



BBC parmesan recipes

Jacqueline Fenner, Sheffield


I read the other story about the BBC's response that alternatives to parmesan are available so this is why they label recipes as vegetarian.  However, I could easily make a chicken recipe with a vegetarian alternative but they don't label that as vegetarian!!  They also have no consideration for people who cannot each beef for religious reasons.  I have also been through the BBC Good Food website and had to comment on approximately 45 recipes the contained pesto that this was not vegetarian either.  


What a disgrace a public funded and internationally rspected organisation the BBC is. 

Vegetarian Cookbooks from Marks and Spencer containing Parmesan and Grana Padano.

I have two 'vegetarian' cookbooks from Marks and Spencer, once called VEGETARIAN BIBLE and one called EASY VEGETARIAN. I just got out VEGETARIAN BIBLE and was impressed at the detail at the beginning explaining how products such as cheese can be non-vegetarian due to annimal rennet etc. This section even says to watch Pesto as it usually contains non-vegetarian cheese. They give a list of readily available vegetarian cheeses. Parmesan and Grana Padano are not on this list! Then one of the very first recipes is Pesto which has parmesan in! Parmesan is used frequently in the book with dedicated parmesan recipes and as just an added ingredient. Grana Padano (another non-vegetarian cheese) is also used in ingredients. I then checked EASY VEGETARIAN and it is the same, including non-vegetarian cheeses. I can't believe they made such a serious error.

The BBC includes Parmesan in its 'vegetarian' recipes!

I complain on a fairly regular basis to the BBC about the recipes on its Food site where many of the recipes marked 'V' contain Parmesan. The final straw was on a cookery show last week with Simon Hopkinson where he cooked Braised Fennel with Parmesan and said it was a "perfect dish for vegetarians"!! This man is a professional chef and food writer appearing on prime-time TV on the national broadcasting channel! I complained yet again and received an email which directed me to read this blog post from Ramona Andrews, BBC Food Host...

---"This is a good point about parmesan cheese. Traditional parmesan is always made with animal-derived rennet. There are, however, some vegetarian parmesan-style cheeses produced in the UK and for this reason, recipes calling for 'parmesan' are included as 'vegetarian' in BBC Food's recipe database."---

Well, I don't know about you, but that stupid reply makes no sense at all to me. The BBC's recipes are misleading and inaccurate and it seems quite happy to keep them that way. Not exactly setting a good example, BBC!


For Veges on a Budget!

Greetings from Down Under!

I'm not sure what the set-up is in your supermarkets over there, and for serious gourmands this probably won't 'cut the mustard' - but as a struggling uni student, I have been pleased to find that many of our Australian 'supermarket's own' brands (home brand, low-price brands etc) offer 'Parmesan-STYLE cheese', incorporating non-animal rennet and labelled suitable for vegans.

I can speak for neither the chemistry nor the quality here, but both the ingredients and the price mean that I've used it - as e.g. a quick pasta topping, for pizzas etc. - that is, as a flavoursome addition, not a staple!

If anyone knows more background to these sorts of imitation cheeses, I'd be interested to know. (Apart from the fact that they probably can't be considered real FOOD, in the proper sense of the word! - but, as I said, the uni budget is a tight one...!).


Tracy from Australia

Rose Elliot used Parmesan cheese

My very old Rose Elliot books have recipes which include Parmesan cheese.  One of the recipes in my most recent, 1991 Vegetarian Slimming,  is called Parmesan Potato Bake.  It just goes to show that we all have learned about our food along the way, and that we must continue to do so.  Keep up the campaign to educate us ordinary people and those who write cookery books!

No more Veggie Paremsan

It seems Sainsbury's have now stopped selling veggie 'Parmesan'.  Twineham Grange was replaced with the Gran Moravia Italian hrad cheese which in tunr was replaced with the Sainsbury's Basic Hard Cheese. Now this has been discontinued (according to their custoemr serives department).  Looks like the only option for most people is to order Twineham Grange direct from Bookhams http://www.bookhams.com/ who make Twineham Grange (now reneamed 'Not Just a Pasta Cheese').

Ive just had a pop at Sainsbury's also for having a recipe for Asparagus and Pesto Pizza in their June magazine, labelled as Veggie but no mention of making sure the Pesto used is Veggie.  There is also a recipe for Pesto which uses Parmesan which I think is a bit naff considering theyve stopped selling the veggie alternative.  There is no wonder small restuarants etc cant get their head around what is veggie and what isnt when one of the largest food retailers doesnt know its backside from its' elbow!


Need a big national campaign...this week would have been a good time to do it.

Delia Smith uses Parmesan in her Vegetarian Cookery book. I have been in touch via her website but have had no response.

Tesco recently used Parmesan in a vegetarian recipe in their Real Food magazine. I emailed the publisher about it who thanked me for telling them.

This Morning TV programme, to mark National Vegetarian Week, had their chef, Phil Vickery, cook a vegetraian lasagne using Parmesan.

Today in a book shop I took two random vegetarian cookbooks from the shelf and they both contained recipes using Parmesan.

When will the professionals get the message?

Alternative to Parmesan

"The Cheese Shop"  Northgate St. Chester recommended a vegetarian alternative to Parmesan for me, which having tried I am now an avid buyer of, it's called "Old Winchester" it's a pasteurized cows milk cheese matured for 16 months making it strong and slightly sweet with a grainy finish. I would highly recommend this to any one. It is a very comparable cheese to Parmesan.


Chefs don't like vegetarians

I mentioned this to several restaurants back in November, and I have to say the response was not all that positive. Most only vegetarian option had parmesan in it, and when i mentioned this they told me I could ask them to cook something. I don't think this is good enough, I want to go out and not think not rack my brains about what I would like to eat, How do I know if they even have the ingredients in for the thing i request they do. I do not think it is good enough that most restaurants have 12 meat option and 1 vegetarian option which most of the time is not vegetarian anyway. Please see below for my favorite response.

'Thank you for your kind and informative e-mail.  Yes, we do have a 'vegetarian option' on our menu, but as you quite rightly point out, Parmesan is not a vegetarian cheese.  Many people who call themselves vegetarians, however, are not as rigorous and dedicated as you, and are quite prepared to have non-vegetarian cheese, or the gravy on a no-meat Roast Lunch, or soup made with Chicken stock.  Some even eat fish - although the term for these is, I think, "Piscatorians".

Sainsbury's "parmesan"

Have tried to buy our usual Sainsbury's Italian cheese for last couple of weeks but haven't been able to get any. I asked at the customer services desk today and was told they are discontinuing it as they don't sell enough!

R Moore Newcastle

Gruyere cheese

'Following on from your parmesan issues. I enjoy a vegetarian tart from Marks & Spencer which is leek and gruyere cheese. When I've tried to buy Gruyer from my supermarket Waitrose I've been told that Gruyere can not be vegetarian.Is this correct?'

Vegetarian Society response: Gruyére is a cheese of protected status originating from Switzerland. The production and maturation is defined in Swiss law and all Swiss Gruyère producers must follow these rules, however this doesn't specify the use of animal rennet. Therefore it could or could not be vegetarian. Unfortunately this means checking with individual manufacturers. We can however advise checking products for our logo indicating Vegetarian Society Approval.

Sainsbury's "Parmesan"

Sainsbury's basic range has a vegetarian Italian Hard Cheese which to all intents and purposes is otherwise the same as traditional parmesan.  We have been using it for awhile now and it is really very good; it has won awards too. 

Restaurant changing menu descriptions

After two emails, pending a visit to this restaurant, then a word with them when we dined there, (I had penne, as it's less likely to contain eggs, with roasted vegetables in a tomato sauce minus the pesto as I'm vegan) then a third email, I got this response from GianBiaz Italian Restaurant in Northampton:





It took an email containing a link to the Food Standard Agency's guidelines on food labelling and a mention of Trading Standards issues but the end result was a good one and all achieved in a friendly way.

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