A decade ago it was much harder to be a vegan. Now that healthy and earth friendly choice is becoming easier and easier. Sometimes the array of possibilities is overwhelming. Even cheese comes in a vegan format now. A Canadian company, based in Alexandria, Ontario, called Zengarry Fauxmagerie is at the forefront of that market. The ingrediants are all natural and the fauxmage is tasty.
The woman behind it all is Lynda Turner. She didn’t like the options for cheese alternatives for vegans that were out there, so decided to make her own. Using cashews, spices and organic oils Zengarry was born in 2013. The feedback about her artisanl vegan cheeses was so positive, Lynda decided to leave her job as a scientist at Health Canada to devote all her time to making and selling Zengarry.
Starting small, in 2016 Lynda opened a Zengarry factory in Alexandria and now, just three short years later, the vegan cheese is being sold in many stores in Ontario and Quebec – 390 locations. Zengarry employs 10 people and produces seven flavours. The impact her product and the woman herself have made is not negligible as she was named one of Eight Women Changing the World for Animals Through Food‘ by the Unbound Project.
Recently (and producing great excitement!) Orcasound was sent all seven flavours to sample. Three of us took a bit of each home to try. The seven flavours are: Double Creme Brie, Garlic & Fine Herbs, Sundried Tomato and Basil, Smokey Jalapeno, Aged Cumin, Creamy Swiss, and the most recent addition to the roster, Ale Aged. All except the Double Creme Brie come in handy plastic containers. The Brie is wrapped as it traditionally is. Each cheese is easily identifiable as the flavours have their own colour packaging.
Cashews are used as the base for the vegan cheese and makes it the same texture as most spreadable cheeses. It is raw, fermented and flavoured with spices. For instance, the Garlic & Fine Herbs has garlic (makes sense, no?) fresh parsley, tarragon, sea salt, and thyme. In my opinion this is the best, but it is all about personal preference. Close seconds were the Sundried Tomato and Basil and the Double Creme Brie. My least favourite was the Aged Cumin, but that is because I am not a fan of cumin not because of the vegan cheese itself. Another taste tester’s opinion was that the Creamy Swiss really does not taste like traditional Swiss cheese. Though it is quite enjoyable. The Ale Aged is quite cool. To compliment it’s sharp cheddar taste, it uses local brewery Beau’s All Natural Brewery Lug Tread Ale for it’s unique flavour. It is also the only one which contains gluten, soy and nuts.
All the vegan cheeses can be used in recipes which call for cheese. They are healthy options. Can be used in or on pasta, mac and cheese, queso, in pastries, as a fondue base, or paired with wine and fruit. And of course, all of the flavours can be enjoyed on a cracker, slice of bread or anything of that sorts. Highly spreadable, so very user friendly!
Check out Zengarry’s website, where you can sign up to receieve their newsletter to keep up to date and after you do that you can download an e-book recipe book here: https://www.zengarry.com
On the website you can also find out where closest to you it is sold. In Quebec it is sold at IGA and Rachel Berry.