Daiya Foods took the vegan food scene by storm in 2009 when it came out with its dairy-free cheese shreds. Founded by Andre Kroecher and Greg Blake, the Vancouver company had succeeded in producing a line of vegan cheese that looks, tastes, and melts much like cow’s cheese, without the nasty animal ingredients. Plus, no soy! Daiya makes its cheese from cassava.
These days, Daiya has vegans buzzing with its new wedges. These highly anticipated products hit the U.S. in April, but have only recently begun showing up in stores around Vancouver. While the shreds are available in cheddar, mozzarella, and pepperjack flavours, the wedges come in cheddar, jack, and jalapeno garlic havarti styles.
I found Daiya’s wedges selling for $5.29 each at Greens Organic + Natural Market (1978 West Broadway), but they’re also available at Drive Organics (1045 Commercial Drive) and Karmavore Vegan Shop (610 Columbia Street, New Westminster). According to the packaging, the wedges are free of gluten, cholesterol, and trans fat. Ingredients include tapioca flour, palm fruit oil, canola and/or safflower oil, pea protein, and coconut oil.
Over the weekend, I tried the jack and jalapeno garlic havarti varieties on crackers, inside pita, and on their own. The wedges come in a somewhat-resealable plastic container. What’s inside is a soft cheese that can be sliced or spread and has a taste reminiscent of foil-wrapped processed Gruyère wedges. But perhaps the best thing about Daiya’s wedges is they don’t have to be melted to be truly enjoyed, unlike the shreds. Both types of wedges I tried were delicious, with the havarti having a nice spice and the jack’s flavour being intensified by melting.
What’s next for Daiya? I’m hoping for vegan Swiss cheese slices.