By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator

In last week’s Toronto Veg Blog post about vegan cream eggs (I hope you had a chance to try some!) I mentioned the plethora of recent Blog TO articles about cheesy vegan comfort foods in Toronto, such as mac n cheese and poutine.

Another area of expanding cheese options in Toronto is artisanal cheeses. No longer is vegan cheese just for topping your pizza or throwing into your burrito. You can now also serve it up all fancy at a party, sliced atop a salted cracker or some crudites.

I was ever so fortunate recently to find myself with an abundance of two of Fauxmagerie Zengarry’s new artisanal flavours: raw brie and gruyere.

To be honest, I didn’t grow up eating fancy cheese so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I quickly realized what decadent, salty deliciousness I’ve been missing all my life!

As I wasn’t accustomed to using artisanal cheese, I started by asking around for suggestions on how exactly one should eat brie or gruyere cheese. I started by spreading some grueyere on toast and tried it on carrots too, and yes it was delicious. But I didn’t shy away from the advice to also try it just straight off the knife, and it just melted in my mouth with the most wonderful salty flavour and smooth texture.

I was pretty impressed, but I was truly blown away once I went a step further and started exploring the recipes on Zengarry’s website for more complex ways to make use of their cheeses.

Their pumpkin and spinach lasagna (which uses the brie) may have sounded like an odd combination of ingredients at first. It is, after all, topped with grated potato instead of mozarella shreds. But it was actually pure bliss the way the flavours wound up melding together and complimenting one another, and the smooth and creamy texture created by the pumpkin bechamel and melted brie.

My favourite meal of all though was the creamy spinach pasta. With a bit of chili flakes, chopped spinach, sauteed mushrooms and onions, and of course, luscious, melted brie, this dish had just the right amount of spice, healthy veggies, and ooey gooey goodness.

If you haven’t tried Zengarry’s artisanal cheeses yet, don’t wait any longer, especially if you’re a member of the Toronto Vegetarian Association.

From now until April 15th only, they’re offering TVA members 15% off online purchases! If you’re a TVA member, use the code TVA2016 to receive your discount.

Not yet a member? Joining is easy at veg.ca/join. Then head on over to Zengarry and enter the special member code before making your purchase!