As the vegan lifestyle continues to gain popularity, creative businesses across Canada are offering up a variety of delicious, plant-based cheeses and meat alternatives. Here are five to try.
Smokey Jalapeno cashew cheese from Zengarry Fauxmagerie near Ottawa
For dairy-free cheese with a kick, head to Zengarry Fauxmagerie, a vegan cheese producer located in Alexandria, Ont. (about an hour from Ottawa). Zengarry’s colourful Smokey Jalapeno is a semi-firm cashew cheese made with roasted red peppers, fresh jalapenos and turmeric. Owner Lynda Turner started making all-natural vegan cheeses in 2013 but only recently opened her Ontario shop.
Very British Banger from The Very Good Butchers in Victoria
James and Tania Davison, owners of plant-based butcher shop The Very Good Butchers in Victoria, have used their culinary expertise (James is a chef) to create a variety of meat alternatives. The popular Very British Banger is made with navy beans, wheat gluten, herbs, leeks, apples and Dijon mustard and has a surprisingly meaty texture.
Creamy Herb cashew cheese Fresh Start Fauxmage in Charlottetown
Fauxmage’s Julain Molnar began creating artisan vegan cheeses in 2016. Molnar’s popular Creamy Herb cheese is made with a cultured cashew base, giving it a rich texture, and is blended with fresh dill and chives. Other cheeses, including cheddar, gouda and feta, are made using crushed almonds or cashews and coconut milk. Find Fresh Start Fauxmage products at markets across P.E.I., including Charlottetown’s Riverview Country Market.
Smoked “meat” from Gusta Foods in Montreal
Founded by vegan Sylvain Karpinski, Gusta Foods is Quebec’s first vegan cheese and meat manufacturer. Gusta “meats” are packed with healthy wheat protein, vegetables and spices, and varieties include cold cuts, smoked seitan and sausages such as the smoked paprika-flavoured Española. Gusta’s products are available at Montreal’s Jean-Talon Market and in other select stores.
Coconut and cashew Brie wedge from Yamchops in Toronto
Located in Toronto’s Little Italy, Yamchops was opened in 2014 by Michael and Toni Abramson. The shop was an instant success, with crowds lining up for unique protein alternatives including tuna-less tuna, egg-less egg salad and ground beet burgers. Yamchops also carries a selection of vegan grocery staples such as the Brie wedge, a creamy blend of cultured coconut and cashew, by Nuts for Cheese.
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