Is there a vegan cheese the French would recognize as such?

Even if you’ve never been to France, you likely know from the movie, French Kiss, that the French love cheese as much as wine, with the same level of discrimination. Some people need an alternative. (Recall Meg Ryan’s anguished scream, “Lactose intolerance!”) Others are trying to avoid animal products. Apparently the market is booming.

Like other facets of the mushrooming plant-based foods industry, vegan cheese has enjoyed double-digit growth over the past few years. According to Nielsen data, sales of plant-based cheese grew 41% through August of last year, while sales of regular dairy cheese were flat. 

The first ones I tried were underwhelming, a plant-based version of plastic-wrapped, plastic-tasting slices. A cashew cheese block wasn’t bad if all you wanted was fatty mouth-feel, but there was nothing with the complexity of Brie, feta, goat cheese or white cheddar. But as more enter the market and they experiment with other plant sources, things are improving.

“We’re where [nut milk] was eight years ago,” says Miyoko Schinner. “We’re catching up fast.” When Schinner founded Miyoko’s Kitchen in 2014, her goal was simple, if daunting. “I wanted to make an impact by taking vegan cheese out of the laughing stock category and make a serious contender for the cheese platter,” she explains.

This article may point you toward tastier options.