It’s official – the cheese game has officially changed, and some creative Canadian vegan businesses are leading the charge, marking a real churning point in the industry.
Gone are the days of vegans longing for those old classics like grilled cheese, cheese and crackers, or a creamy spread slapped across a bagel. You’ll want to eat this stuff until the cows come home (that’s sort of the point, right?). In all seriousness, there has never been a better time than now for vegan cheese consumers.
Cheese makers are redefining the art of cheese making in a modern, inclusive, and most importantly – TASTY – renaissance.
This welcome change has been fermenting for a while now, so we here at FAIR/SQUARE have put together a virtual cheese tour of Canada, many of which can be found in our Holiday cheese boards.
Hint – check out our Vegan wine list blog for some great parings!
Culcherd is a Toronto-based artisanal vegan cheese and butter producer with offerings such as Sriracha Jalapeno, Aged Sundried Tomato and Olive, a clever and delicious Everything Bagel, and limited time Holiday flavour. Their firm, hand crafted, and beautifully wrapped mounds of cheesy joy are sure to be a hit for any holiday party, or Nacho party for one on the couch.
Founders Tim and Liz have developed a deceivingly genuine palm oil-free butter from organic coconut oil and cashews that lends itself to frying for the serious #junkfoodvegans out there (grilled cheese, anyone?) It also comes in Cinnamon Swirl – so put that on your bread and toast it!
They also get bonus points for their completely plastic-free packaging!
When starting Basic Roots, founder Paula Bellavance had a simple and straightforward goal – to create great tasting non-dairy, GMO-free, vegan cheeses that mimic traditional cheese.
And the proof, as they say, is in the non-dairy pudding. Available in over 90 stores across Canada, this Canadian, family-run business offers 6 gluten, soy, and preservative-free cheeses – from firm Truffle Brie and Feta, to herbed, zesty, and spicy cream cheese style spreads.
Opening in 2016, Pulse Kitchen is yet another small artisanal vegan cheese maker with dreams as big as the mountains that surround it. Coming at you straight out of the Okanagan valley, all of their products are gluten and soy-free, and contain – you guessed it – pulses! (which are great for you, and good for the soil they’re grown in).
Their flavours include Sharp Cashew Cheddar, Cashew Kind of Blue, Almond Chevre, Almond Gruyere, Smoky Cashew Cheddar and are sure to raise the heartbeat of any get together – all while sales in the dairy industry are flatlining. Ha!
nuts for cheese
Nuts for Cheese hardly need an introduction, as their creamy organic, and dairy-free, and cashew-based cheese wedges have been picked up by major grocers such as Goodness Me!, Whole Foods Market, Farm Boy, and Sobeys.
With a diverse range of punny offerings such as Un-Brie-lievable, Smoky Artichoke & Herb, Chipotle Cheddar, Red Rind, Super Blue, and recent addition Black Garlic, founder Margaret Coons (AKA, the ‘Big Cheese’) and her cheerful team have announced themselves as pioneers in the vegan cheese game. Whether you’re looking to elevate a pizza, potato, or pasta dish – Nuts for Cheese has an option for you.
Based out of Toronto, Vegcheese is a female-run, family supported business that brings nut and gluten free cheeses to hungry mouths all over the GTA. Their mantra is ‘If we can’t feed it to our family, we will not feed it to our customers’.
Founder Lori Sroujian uses a base of organic soy milk and organic coconut oil in her small batch, artisinal production process. Vegcheese can be found in boutique grocers across Ontario. Their fresh Mozz, and Garlic & Chive flavours are a hit at many vegfest events, and their Italian Black Truffle will send you straight to Tuscany…like seriously.
Vegtago is a quickly growing Kitchener-based cheese company founded by powerhouse sister duo Jessica and Christy Lalonde, who aim to provide delicious nut, dairy, gluten, and soy-free cheese options, and promote food allergy awareness. Openly sharing their personal experiences, they refuse to let food allergies stand in the way of great tasting food, and fill their instagram to the brim with healthy tips and creative recipes.
With a classic cheddar as their first product, Jessica and Christy are busy developing new flavours – such as a soon to be released cheddar jalapeno that is dynamite on a cracker.