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For many herbivores out there, cheese tops the list for the hardest things to give up. But thanks to these artisanal fromage makers out there, there’s no shortage of 100% plant-based cheeses out there to satisfy even the wildest of our dairy cravings. From sharp cheddars to creamy spreadables and melty mozzarella, it’s truly tough to list all the incredible options now available. Below, we take you on a real American road trip, touring the 10 best plant-based cheese shops in the country.
1. Virgin Cheese (Clarkdale, Arizona)
Relocated from Las Vegas to Clarkdale in the wine region of the Verde Valley, Virgin Cheese produces artisanal organic vegan cheeses “of the highest order” using traditional culturing techniques. Made with a cashew milk base, they carry everything from brie and feta to pepper jack, sharp white cheddar and smoked gouda, many of them also coming in various flavours.
Virgin Cheese, 915 Main St, Clarkdale, AZ 86324.
2. The Vreamery (Paso Robles, California)
The Vreamery offers more than 50 vegan cheese varieties, all small-batch, totally plant-based and of course, delicious. Expect creative flavours like balsamic bliss, artichoke garlic and chile cumin, as well as some of the classics like tomato and basil cheese spreads, mellow jack and mozzarella. You can even grab a bite in their in-house “melt bar”, which features a menu full of grilled cheese paninis and colourful graze charcuterie boxes. Want to take the adventure home? The Vreamery offers a D-I-Y homekit for budding vegan cheesemakers too!
The Vreamery, 1815 Spring St, Paso Robles, CA 93446.
3. Three Girls Vegan Creamery (Guilford, Connecticut)
Italian family run business Three Girls Vegan Creamery serves up 100% vegan, naturally aged and fermented cheeses that are made with organic and sustainably-sourced ingredients in small batches. Think marinated ciliegine “mozzarella” balls in extra virgin olive oil, vegan grated parmesan, almond-based ricotta, havarti dill and even strawberry spreadable cream cheese. Plus, there’s plant-based pizza topped with their cheeses melted to perfection, homemade lasagne, and classic Italian desserts like cannolis. What’s not to love?
Three Girls Vegan Creamery, 645 Boston Post Road, Guilford, CN 06437.
4. Vtopian Artisan Cheeses (Portland, Oregon)
Portland-based Vtopian Artisan Cheeses makes their cultured cashew cheeses using organic fair-trade cashews and locally sourced ingredients. Their line is wide and varied, so expect to dig into everything from peppercorn brie wheels to macadamia-based camembert, blocks of aged white cheddar that are perfect for grating, and herby chive and dill cashew cheese.
Vtopian Artisan Cheeses, 1628 SW Jefferson St, Portland, OR 97201.
5. Vromage (Los Angeles, California)
Vromage in Los Angeles has gained quite a following ever since it opened in 2014, and has been described as crafting some of the best vegan cheeses in the world. Their counter offerings rotate by the week, there’s mozzarella, “veganzola”, brie and more – cultured using a variety of nuts like cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and pine nuts. Vromage also serves cheesy bites like fresh caprese salad, brie-topped open faced sandwiches and platters of their creations with fruit and nuts. Need we say more?
Vromage, 7988 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046.
6. Riverdel Vegan Cheese (New York City, New York)
Riverdel Vegan Cheese bills itself as “original vegan cheese monger”, where you’ll be able to enjoy the ultimate vegan cheese experience. Since it opened doors in 2015, New Yorkers have been frequenting the shop for its giant wheels of 100% plant-based cheese, sold by weight and wrapped in cheese paper – it’s the real deal for those looking for a dairy-free trip to a traditional cheese shop. Some of their menu favourites include the “Figgy Truffle Billy” stuffed with figs soaked in port and flavoured with aromatic truffle, aged bleu cheese and even oat-based fromage.
Riverdel Vegan Cheese, 88 Essex St, New York, NY 10002.
7. Rebel Cheese (Austin, Texas)
Austin-based Rebel Cheese was started by passionate vegans Kirsten Maitland and Fred Zwar who “yearned to create picnics with artisan cheeses, indulge in a sandwich or pizza with meltable mozzarella” to prove to others that their cruelty-free sustainable version tastes just as good, if not better than the real deal. You can pretty much expect to get lost in wonderland at Rebel Cheese, with their counter offering unique flavours like blueberry vanilla chevre logs and cheddar and brie lovechild “chebrie”, or something more familiar, like garlic herb boursin. Oh, and there’s vegan swiss fondue. Not a drill.
Rebel Cheese, 2200 Aldrich St Suite 120, Austin, TX 78723.
8. Dr-Cow Tree Nut Cheese (Brooklyn, New York)
Dr-Cow creates raw cheeses, butters and milks made from non-GMO certified organic nuts and plant-based ingredients that undergo no heating above 120 degrees fahrenheit, no physical refining and filtering. Here, you’ll find veganised staple cheeses, but their unique creations really stand out. Like sprouted hazelnut chocolate butter, reishi mushroom aged cheeses and even rotating special desserts like vegan cheesecake with an almond and brazil nut crust, or their raw “oreo” cookies.
Dr-Cow, 93 S 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249.
9. Cultured South (Atlanta, Georgia)
Cultured South is a specialist fermentation company and bar in an industrial brewery, so it carries various products like kombucha and pickles, but it also features Pure Abundance, a line of vegan cheeses located in its grab-and-go counter section. On the menu includes vegan raw cheese plates with their homemade pickles, jams and crackers and melty plant-based grilled cheeses on sprouted sourdough.
Cultured South, 1038 White Street SW Atlanta, GA 30310.
10. Herbivorous Butcher (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Technically a plant-based butcher shop (who won a legal struggle against food giant Nestlé, by the way), but the Herbivorous Butcher deserves a shout-out because of their awesome vegan cheese variety. There’s pepper jack, gouda, feta, havarti, mozzarella and more, all prepared with love by the brother-and-sister team who run the shop. Plus, you can pick up some of the (vegan) cold cuts and roasts that they’re so famous for!
Herbivorous Butcher, 507 1st Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413.
Lead image courtesy of Riverdel Cheese.