The Journal

A Plant Based Guide to Nut Cheese in Vancouver

“I could totally go vegan….except for giving up cheese.” The words said by so many people, ready or needing to give up dairy but still stuck on the cheese wagon. There's something about cheese that we hang on to. Some would say it’s addictive. Maybe it’s just so engrained in our culture through some of our favourite ‘cheat foods,’ from nachos to pizza, to mac and cheese… it owns a spot on the dietary comfort zone that’s hard to kick.

However, If you start to add up the health detriments of dairy products, the mistreatment of animals that goes into many dairy cheese products, it becomes harder to break out some brie, or gouda or mozzarella or whatever dairy cheese it may be. This last year, we have seen major growth in the mass market in meat and dairy substitutes. From Field Roast sausages to Beyond Meat Burgers, it’s becoming easier and easier to choose a plant based alternative to our favourite meat offerings.

This year the Nut Cheese industry has boomed and it looks to be the next big wave in the health world. For all the cheese lovers out there, there’s now amazing alternatives to dairy-based cheese; whether you’re lactose intolerant, have health concerns about the cholesterol and saturated fats in dairy products, or just don’t want to cause any harm or suffering to any animals. Here are our Top Spots for finding delicious Vegan Cheese in Vancouver.

4 Places to get Vegan Cheese in Vancouver:

Blue Heron Creamery:
Created by Chef Karen McAthy, Blue Heron created plant-based cheeses with the same approach that one would make dairy cheese. “Carefully cultured, aged and crafted from simple, carefully sourced ingredients in Vancouver.” The Blue Heron team, which also consists of Colin Medhurst from Feed Life, Eden Chan from Eternal Abundance and Zoe Peled from The Vegan Project creates gourmet, cheeses that will leave the non-believers converted. Think Fig and Saffron Coconut Kefir, Kelp Stout Almond Beachwood or our personal favourite, the Apricot Wensleydale. These plant-based cheeses are taken to the next level. You can order subscriptions for pick up at The Juice Truck storefront, find it on the menu at Exile Bistro and Field and Social or sign up for one of their workshops through their website.

Vegan Supply:
From the team that brought you the popular restaurant Meet. Vegan Supply offers online ordering for some of the most sought after, and often hard to find vegan grocery products including Nut and Coconut cheese. They offer Miyoko Kitchen, a brand that pioneered high-quality plant-based cheeses with flavours such as a Cashew and Chickpea Cheese all wrapped in a fig leaf or our favourite the Black Ash. Vegan Supply Co. also offers Vtopian a Portland Plant Based cheese company with offerings such as a Cashew-Coconut based Aged White Cheddar or a Caramelized Onion Camembert Cheese. They also offer other brands such as Chao Slices by Field Roast and Daiya as well as a variety of Vegan Mac and Cheese options by Earth Balance. If you want to browse in person they also have a boutique grocery store in White Rock called Antony and Sons

Parthenon Supermarket:
Located on Broadway in Kits, Parthenon is a staple family run Grocery Store and Deli. It’s very cool to see that they've grown to offer an amazing selection of plant-based products, including Ravenwood Artisan Cheese: a small batch, hand-made vegan cheese line. Lemon Garlic Chèvre, Jalapeño and Garlic Boursin, Extra Sharp Cheddar, and Brazil Nut Parmesan are a few of our top choices. All the cheeses are locally made without preservatives.

Virtuous Pie:
The newest hot spot in Vancouver. Vegan Pizza…with flavours so good that you can bring your pepperoni-loving friends and they won’t even notice there isn’t any pepperoni… or dairy based cheese for that matter. Virtuous Pie makes all of their vegan cheeses in-house. Their cashew mozzarella melts just like its dairy counterpart, to a golden and delicious hue. They also offer incredible dairy-free ice creams. They don’t currently sell their cheese separately to go, but we’re sending out some hopeful vibes, that they will eventually offer that amazing cashew mozzarella as its own takeaway order. 

Plant-based cheese; All the flavour with added health benefits and none of the negative effects that dairy has on your body, animals and the environment. What’s not to like? Next time you’re feeling a craving for cheese, give one of these dairy free options a try and see what you think. Dairy-free cheese… it does the body good (as well as the environment)! 

*photo of Blue Heron cashew camembert and caraway seed gouda and other plant-based cheeses by Colin Medhurst @feedurlife