Has Chef Tal Ronnen Created The Best Vegan Cheese, Ever?


Oprah once famously said that Tal Ronnen is, “the best vegan chef in America” – and she would know, since he cooked for her as she went on a 21-day vegan cleanse. But Oprah is not the only one who sings Tal praises; he catered Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s vegan wedding, Arianna Huffington’s party at the Democratic National Convention, and the first vegan dinner at the U.S. Senate (talk about an impressive resume!). He also helped put together the vegan menu at Lyfe Kitchen (the kabocha squash risotto and chocolate budino are a must-try!).

Recently, Tal opened up his all vegan restaurant, Crossroads, in Los Angeles, where he offers mouth-watering dishes such as biscuits and morel mushroom gravy, wood-fried meaty lasagna, and pappardelle bolognese. But his new ventures don’t stop there; he is also working on Kite Hill, a new brand of “artisanal nut milk-based cheeses of remarkable craftsmanship”. As many vegans anxiously await this delicious creation, Whole Foods has already added it to its cheese section in Los Altos, Palo Alto, Oakland, Noe Valley, Portero, Franklin, Berkeley, Mill Valley, San Rafael, Sebastopol, San Jose, Cupertino, and Capitola (I’m still waiting for it to make an appearance in Los Angeles!). Tal boasts that this is different from other vegan cheeses, because this cheese is made, from beginning to end, in the same way that traditional artisanal dairy cheeses are made – but without the dairy of course.

I am excited to try this new cheese, because I know that if anyone can perfect vegan cheese, it’s the amazing team of people at Kite Hill. Right now, there are three options available for everyone lucky enough to stop by Whole Foods in the locations mentioned above; Casuccio, the softest of the three cheeses is described as having, “a soft fresh with a supple, silky texture”; Costanoa is a semi soft cheese and has a flavorful blend of fennel pollen and paprika; White Alder, is a soft ripened cheese that looks like brie (and I hope it tastes like brie too!). As soon as I get a chance to try these cheeses, I will report back with feedback. For now, I am excited for more vegan cheese options – looks like we can all have more wine and cheese parties in the future!

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