Los Angeles, vromage.com
What it is: A vegan cheese shop that features artisanal nut-and seed-based cheeses, located at the eastern edge of L.A.’s Sunset Strip. Since Vromage opened its doors last fall, vegans and other dairy avoiders have been flocking to the tiny shop.
Why we love it: The shop sells delicious dairy-free cheeses by the pound and via mail order. Standouts include a creamy cashew truffle Brie flavored with fresh Italian truffles, an ash-coated cashew pecorino, and a pink-striped cranberry goat made with macadamia nuts. Vromage also offers a small menu of pizzas, sandwiches, salads (vegan Caprese!), and a decadent cheese-tasting platter.
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The back story: “I decided to make this cheese because people were complaining to me that there’s no good vegan cheese,” says owner Youssef Fakhouri, a French-Moroccan former restaurateur who describes his own diet as “almost vegan.”
“I love cheese. I wanted to make something that would taste as good or even better [than dairy cheese].” He started experimenting in 2009, and found that cheese fermented while he traveled for his antique business.
“It’s amazing how this thing developed,” says Fakhouri, adding that he learned to be patient while waiting for his cheese to be just right.