In our world of expanding food options, you don't have to be vegan to dabble in dairy-free cheese. When looking for vegan cheese, it can be hard to find quality products with real ingredients. A new Toronto vegan cheese store, The Wandering Deli, has got you covered with their delightful array of up to 30 mainly nut-based artisanal cheeses, and they are set to open up shop by as early as the end of 2019!
Founder Kira Lancaster tells Narcity that she has been making vegan cheese for over eight years and has been selling her products since 2015. She started off as the Secret Vegan Cheese Club, which has been noticed by several Toronto news outlets in the past.
The cheeses are mainly made out of cashews and almond mylks, with coconut kefir as a culturing agent. They have sunflower seed and pumpkin seed-based cheeses too, for those looking for nut-free options.
"The most popular is the Smokey Paprika Ash," says Kira. "It is a cultured cashew cheese with coconut kefir culture. It has a flavour of smoke to it from smoked paprika with a touch of liquid smoke and then is given an activated charcoal rind." When it gets extra time to dry out, it creates a crackle pattern as seen below.
"Instead of launching products in stores I’ve been more of like a special order company," Kira said to Narcity. "Most of the time I've done special order bundles, so I'll do a theme every month. Usually it's whatever is happening seasonally. I'll release a harvest bundle pretty soon, during Pride I do a unicorn bundle with lots of cool colours and flowers."
Now, the Toronto vegan cheese company is looking to take their business to the next step and open up an actual shop.
"I really love the walk-in deli style cheese shop," says Kira. "It’s so community neighbourhoodly so I really want that experience for my vegan community."
They currently operate out of a large kitchen space at King and Roncesvalles, which they are planning to make some renovations to in order to make their cheese shop a reality. Follow this crowdfunding link to donate.
Wandering Deli also sells their cheeses at local farmers markets such as the Annette Village farmer's market. You can keep up with them on Instagram.