Going vegan: Is the cheese world ready for cauliflower 'Camembert'?

·2-min read
Grounded Foods presents a vegan Camembert-style 'cheese' made with cauliflower and hemp seeds.

Camembert is the latest food getting the vegan treatment, landing as a cheese-free cheese made with cauliflower and hemp seeds. But how will this faux fromage go down in France?

After fish-free sushi and meat-free meat, Camembert is the latest foodstuff getting an innovative interpretation. In California, 'cheese makers' of a new kind have been working on making cheese-free cheese. This particular faux fromage -- or "fauxmage" -- from Grounded Foods, contains no dairy, nuts or soy, and is gluten-free.

"We love cheese. The flavor. The texture," states Grounded Foods. "Only we don't love the fact that dairy, and the Big Food industry surrounding it, is so unsustainable. Problem." So the company set about replacing dairy products with cauliflower and hemp seeds.

To succeed in its plant-based cheese-making mission, Grounded Foods has developed a fermentation process using koji, which is also used to make miso and soy sauce. Other firms already use this bacteria to make meat and seafood alternatives.

More cheese please

As well as making Camembert, Grounded Foods has also made vegan goat's cheese, Gruyère and even a cheese-free cheese sauce. An initial selection of products are currently being sold as bundles on the firm's website , starting at $30 for three items.

"That's different"

On its Instagram page, Grounded Foods shares pictures of its various products, including a snap of what looks a lot like feta. "This is our version. It's not like Greek feta (which has a sharper flavor and more crumbly texture)-rather, it's semi-firm and silky smooth, with a beautiful tang...and made primarily from hemp seed. So that's different. To avoid confusion, we're simply going to call it G.O.A.T Cheese," reads the accompanying post, offering clarification for cheese purists.

It remains to be seen what cheese-lovers in France will make of this latest take on Camembert, which is traditionally made using cow's milk in Normandy.

Mylène Bertaux