Canadian brand Blue Heron Creamery will open a vegan cheese shop on February 15 in Vancouver. The shop—the first of its kind in the city—will operate next door to vegan and gluten-free restaurant Friendly Snackbar. “One of the main goals for us with the shop is to, obviously, have a place to sell cheese,” Chef Karen McAthy, author of The Art of Plant-Based Cheesemaking, told VegNews, “but also to engage those who may not be vegan, or who may be interested [or] curious, about vegan, plant-based cheese, and cheesemaking.” McAthy and business partner Colin Medhurst will host an opening celebration called “Blue Valentine,” featuring products from other plant-based companies such as Say Hello Sweets, Amai Vegan Treats, and Biota Fermentation. “Collaborating with others has been really important to us from the beginning,” McAthy said, “so we want Blue Valentine and our shop opening to be a chance for a group celebration of sorts.” Guests at the opening can sample Cumulus, a tangy, coconut milk-based cheese in several flavors including fig, herb and garlic, and peppercorn with preserved Meyer lemon; Smoke ‘n’ Spice, a young and aged gouda; Forest, an earthy, smoked cheese infused with truffle and chaga; and Cormorant, an ashed, lightly salted cheese. McAthy has researched cheesemaking methodology since 2013, and will use this knowledge to inform the new offerings at the creamery. “We think this is an exciting time, with the market growing so rapidly,” McAthy said. “This is an opportunity to understand some elements of vegan cheesemaking as an evolution of the craft of cheesemaking itself. As the dairy sector continues to shrink, it will be an exciting time … in developing high quality, cultured vegan cheeses.” As a result of growing demand from consumers, a report by Bharat Book Bureau from December 2017 found that the vegan cheese market will be worth $3.9 billion by 2024.
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