When most people think of cheesemakers, they think about tradition and Old World methods and classic wheels of cheese aging to perfection. It’s not often that dairy-free cheese or plant-based cheese or vegan cheese is part of that story, but for Vevan it is.
Meet Christophe Megevand. He’s a classically trained cheesemaker with credentials and awards spanning more than four decades. He’s a stickler for quality and the mastermind behind many of the most celebrated domestically-crafted European-style cheeses.
More recently, he channeled his passion in a new direction and became a leading force in bringing a new line of ultra-authentic dairy-free, plant-based cheese called Vevan to life.
What prompted you to begin developing a dairy-free cheese line?
That’s simple. I love cheese. The way it tastes, the way it feels in your mouth, the incredible way it transforms a recipe into something more. Not everyone enjoys dairy cheese, and there are plenty of reasons for that. It’s not for me to say that they should. But if they’re going to use non-dairy cheese, I don’t want anyone settling for a lesser experience – and that’s what people were having to do.
How were other dairy-free options falling short?
Nobody wants a bite of bland, gritty, dry stuff. Cheese has a very distinct texture. They want the creaminess and the gooeyness and the great stretchy melt that makes cheese so incredible. Authenticity is important, and with Vevan we worked and worked until we found a recipe that gives us a smooth texture, great flavors and a wonderful melt.
How did your traditional cheese-making knowledge help you create a better vegan cheese?
Many people don’t realize it, but cheesemaking is actually very scientific. There’s a lot of biology and microbiology that goes into developing the cultures and eliciting the right textures and flavors. Those same principles go into making a plant-based cheese. You’re still fine-tuning ingredients to achieve the right consistency and make it taste the way you want it to.
What ingredients do you use to make vegan cheese?
The recipe for vegan cheese varies from one brand to another. The base for Vevan is a unique blend of yeast, starches and natural oils. All Vevan products are produced using non-GMO ingredients, and Vevan is completely allergen-free (unlike many plant-based options, which rely on soy or nuts).
Who did you have in mind when you were creating Vevan?
When you hear from buyers at grocery stores that people are having trouble distinguishing Vevan from dairy cheese, you know you’ve got a vegan cheese that appeals to a wide range of people. That’s exactly what we wanted. Whether it’s because they want an option that’s dairy free or lactose free or a fit for a plant based diet, Vevan is an option that gives everyone an authentic cheese experience without the dairy or lactose.
What else should people know about your approach to dairy-free cheese?
We talk about Vevan’s melt a lot, and it’s definitely one of its greatest features. There’s really nothing else on the market like it. But Vevan is also really tasty on its own. You can eat it cold on a sandwich, or just enjoy it as a snack. Most vegan cheese is made for cooking, but we made certain that Vevan could be enjoyed on its own just as easily as blended into a recipe.
It may not be intuitive, but Vevan proves that an artisan cheesemaker’s touch makes all the difference when it comes to dairy-free cheese. Explore the Vevan flavor lineup and find your new favorite.