Vegan food has long gotten a bad rap for being flavorless and overly fussy. In the past, plant-based cheese and ice cream simply couldn’t hold their own against the decadent nature of the originals. Today, a new breed of entrepreneurs and artisans are working hard to change all that.
From cheesy sauces to sweet scoops, these local products make it easier – and tastier – than ever to go dairy-free.
Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery
Ice cream has a special way of connecting people. For Tamara Keefe, founder and CEO of Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery, it gave her an entirely new sense of community as a child. From churning ice cream with a $2 hand crank as a familial Sunday tradition to opening the award-winning creamery in St. Louis, the entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “flavor temptress” remains devoted to bringing folks together – serving up love, one scoop at a time. Some of her handcrafted, small-batch creations are even dairy-free. In a mouthwatering remake of the classic flavor, tart lemon mixes with the subtle nuttiness of poppy seeds, while decadent chocolate, rich coconut cream and slightly sweet coconut milk combine in the coconut-chocolate fudge. Feeling naughty? Try the alcohol-infused pink Champagne sorbet. These and other vegan flavors are available at Clementine’s three storefront locations as well as online at clementinescreamery.com.
Three Vegan Brothers
When Mary Austin’s three sons simultaneously switched to a plant-based diet, she was amazed at the positive effect it had on their health. She herself could easily give up meat, but she knew cutting cheese out of her life would be a considerable feat. However, the more she learned about plant-based eating, the more determined she became to create a plant-based cheese that would mimic, if not surpass, the texture, flavor and applications of dairy-based cheese. Along with her sons, Austin launched Three Vegan Brothers in 2013. Today, the St. Louis-based company sells aged, air-dried plant-based cheese rounds made with organic cashews as well as spreadable plant-based cream cheese. Both types come in four flavors: Smokee with a robust smoky flavor, Hot Dayum made with jalapeños and Fresno chiles, the even spicier Skull & Crossbones and, many people’s favorite, the roasted garlic and herb Vampire Killa. Several vegetarian and vegan establishments in St. Louis carry its products, but Three Vegan Brothers also ships across the country. threeveganbrothers.com
CORE + RIND
Health begins with one small – and delicious – change in the kitchen. For CORE + RIND owners and culinary nutrition experts Candi Haas and Rita Childers, that change was cheese. Living in St. Louis, the friends spent a year and a half developing their creamy, plant-based Cashew Cheesy Sauce, which has whole, non-GMO ingredients – all of which you can pronounce. They labored over the recipe – making it more than 150 times – until they were sure that they had a great-tasting, shelf-stable product without preservatives, chemical additives, gums or fillers. Also free of dairy, gluten, soy and grain, the sauce is packed with healthy fats, nourishing spices and plant power. It’s available in original, smoky and spicy chipotle at select markets and grocery stores throughout the state and across the country, as well as online at coreandrind.com.