It’s no secret we like cheese. It’s buttery, delicate, sharp, salty, tangy, even nutty and one small slice is all we need to satisfy a craving. We like to fondue, enjoy raclette and especially love getting to know the cheesemakers and mongers in Alberta. In this column, we’ve discovered monthly subscriptions and cheesemaking kits to create excitement and anticipation. Plus, we’ve sampled the most delicious freshly made curds and plant-based cheese that we challenge you to try, and we found a fun gift for the turophile in your life.

In this issue (and column) we are all about cheese. Be sure to check out local producer Crystal Springs Cheese making cheese and curds, and this cool gadget to wow your friends with, The Swissmar Girouette Cheese and Chocolate Curler. Treat yourself to a monthly cheese box subscription available from Bridgeland Market or try your hand at cheese making with the best cheese making kits from Springbank Cheese Co.

Glowfood Creamery

While fermentation might be the buzzword of the 2020s, it’s an ancient and fundamental component of cuisines worldwide. Just like Parmigiano-Reggiano involves an age-old fermentation process, so does vegan cheese. According to Julie Kapuscinski, founder of Glowfood Creamery in Banff, when you make vegan cheese, you are putting microbes to work which help us glow from the inside out. Kapuscinski makes small-batch artisan vegan cheese unlike any plant-based cheese on the market. The cheese is cultured for 24-48 hours, contains high concentrations of good bacteria and is meant to be enjoyed on a cheese board or used to finish dishes like pasta or salad. Currently available is a sharp and complex smoked Cheddar, spicy piri piri and a softer wild-pepper garlic cheese flavoured with lapsang souchong black tea. Oat-cashew camembert and a cashew sour cream is also available, and we think they’re particularly fantastic. We’ve sampled these items a few times and can honestly say it’s hard to tell they’re plant based. Products and accompaniments are available through the website or at the retailers listed below.

Vegan Cheese | Charcuterie Vegan Deli, Sunnyside Market, The Coup, Light Cellar (Calgary), Flora Foods (Cochrane), Rusticana (Canmore) | $19.99 |