PARIS — Cheese boutiques (or "fromageries" in French) line the streets of almost all French towns. Their expertly crafted — and sometimes infamously stinky — cheeses draw locals every week and tourists from around the world.
But one new cheese shop in the heart of Paris is making something a bit different: vegan cheese, or as the French might one day say, "vromage."
Venezuela-born Mary Carmen Iriarte Jähnke got the idea for the inventive cheese after she moved to Paris to study and started to go vegan a few years later, in 2010. For a culture so proud of its special cheese, Jähnke found it difficult to not partake in the cuisine.
Cheeses were her "Achilles heel, especially in France, where they are so good," Jähnke told French daily Libération in mid-March.
Ten years after arriving in the city, Jähnke is now the founder, owner and chief vegan cheese maker at Jay & Joy near Bastille, in Paris' 11th arrondissement.
The idea of dairy-less cheese might make the French pose questions (and possibly cringe), but Jähnke hopes their curiosity will make them actually taste it. She also has "joyourts," vegan yogurt made from rice, and "fat joy," vegan foie gras from cashew nuts.
Jay & Joy is not the first place to turn a culture's key cuisine vegan. Across the globe, examples abound — from Mexico City to Seoul:
Vegans don't really flock to Germany for the food. The country's culinary culture relies heavily on brats and beer, the latter of which might be vegan but isn't advised as a sole source of nutrients. But Berlin, the nation's capital and hipster hotspot, has vegan currywurst spots that allow vegans to partake in a local favorite.
Vegans can always replace meat with beans in their tacos, but it isn’t quite the same. Now any vegan (or adventurous foodie) can find fake-meat tacos that look (and supposedly taste) like the real deal at Por Siempre Vegana (Always Vegan), a taco stand in Mexico City.
BRITISH FISH AND CHIPS
The British might not be known for their food, but they are known at least for frying a good piece of fish. Vegans don’t have to stick to the chips, however. The Loving Hut in Brighton offers a fake fish and chips among the rest of the restaurant’s all-vegan menu.
Being vegan in Seoul is not impossible: Korean food relies heavily on rice and vegetables, after all. But meat is a key ingredient in some of the most beloved Korean dishes, like the beef in bulgogi, pork in jajangmyeon and the seafood in jjamppong. Luckily for anyone in Seoul, they can find vegan version of all the above foods at SaRangBunSik.
Photo: Instagram by kaffeefuchs
Residents of the Carolinas, Kansas City, Memphis and Texas have fought for decades over who has the country's best barbecue. A less than 10-year-old vegan barbecue restaurant might add Portland to the map. The Homegrown Smoker sells tempeh ribs, burgers and ham from its food truck window. It even offers vegan mac and cheese on the side. Mac and vromage, then?
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