The long-awaited dairy-free version of the Borough Market stalwart
“It’s been more than four years in the making—I absolutely did not want to release something that wasn’t great,” says Flip Dunning of Pâté Moi’s debut vegan version of her famed mushroom pâté. “When you only sell one thing, if you introduce another you’ve got to do it really well. But I’m chuffed with it.”
It looks, and feels, identical. The only difference is the lack of dairy—but there are no dodgy, indeterminate artificial alternatives to be found here: “I make my own curd cheese with cashews, which took forever to get right!” Flip laughs. “But now I can make it with my eyes shut.” The nuts are soaked overnight with apple cider vinegar, fresh lemon juice and tamari, before being combined with breadcrumbs (“which, incidentally, are gluten-free”) and a hearty amount of fresh and earthy organic mushrooms, which come from a farm in Suffolk. Cooked slowly and with love, each batch is handmade and hand-potted, brought fresh to the Market each week.
“Quite frankly, for me the big thing that usually makes everything taste nice is dairy, but this has a lovely richness to it from the cashew curd,” Flip continues. “It’s very mushroom-y and totally satisfying. In fact, some of the boys on my stall actually prefer it. They absolutely love it—so does my mum! It’s quite hard to get a really nice, fresh vegan product that still feels luxurious. It can often taste a bit watery and flat. It took me a while to work out how to get there, but I did it. Finally.”
Anyone familiar with the original incarnation of this Market stalwart will know all about its versatility. And those who have been waiting with bated breath for a vegan version (for there have been many requests over the years and indeed, it’s already acquired a loyal following) are in for a treat. “People have been putting it on noodles or pasta, you can make a vegan nut roast with it. Incorporate it in anything you usually make; as a dip, a sauce, spread, a filling”—the world is your (king) oyster.