Darë was brought into existence by chef, Gwendolyn Dare Hageman, who spent most of her life as an omnivore inspired by her chef Dad. The two had a snack ritual involving a block of cheese, a pack of crackers, and a knife. When Gwendolyn decided to pursue an animal-free lifestyle, the thought of losing her favorite snack sent her searching high and low for a sufficient substitute. Time and again, she came up empty, thus beginning her journey in creating the taste she craved.
Not one to back down from a challenge, Gwendolyn grew inspired by the limitations imposed by a meat- and dairy-free lifestyle. As the vegan chef at Warren Wilson College, Gwendolyn found a willing audience where she was both encouraged and inspired to dig into experimentation. She turned to the ancient tradition of cheesemaking and explored fermentation to coax flavor and texture from her plant-based creations. She cultivated a culture that, when married with cashews, exploded with flavor. What emerged was a passion for the food she was making, a hunger to make people happy, and the innovation to satisfy multiple palates. From there, the rest is history.
Born and raised in Dare County, North Carolina, the company name, (pronounced “Dairy”, by the way), is a play on Gwendolyn’s middle name and a cheeky nod to the bold approach in which Darë Vegan Cheese was made. Today, her company focuses on small-batch, handmade goodness. With a team of dedicated and passionate individuals, Gwendolyn chooses people over machinery and passion over everything to make a product infused with love and intention.
In this journey, Gwendolyn has found joy and purpose in creating a satisfying dairy-free cheese that leaves nothing to be desired. Well, maybe one thing, and that’s more Darë Vegan Cheese!
Darë Vegan Cheese (pronounced “Dairy”) is a dairy-free cheese company with feet planted squarely in the cheesemaking tradition. Sans the animal products, of course. With roots in North Carolina and a culinary approach based in an age-old craft, founder Gwendolyn Dare Hageman has reimagined a beloved food and made it, well, better.
Using a well-loved culture (fermentation rules!) and a cashew base, Gwendolyn and her dedicated team make brie, gouda, melty mozzarella and cream cheese with science, craft, and a dash of culinary wizardry.
Darë Vegan Cheese is small-batch and handmade, focusing on a small list of whole ingredients for plant-based cheese that tastes just like cheese. We like to think our thoughtful process creates an irresistible product that lives up to the hype. And we’ll bet you do too.
Simply the Best
We’ve heard it before. “It’s good for a vegan cheese,” or “It’s pretty good for being plant-based.” Those kind of sentiments are nice, but we wanted more. Darë Vegan Cheese aims to be the best dairy-free cheese out there, and if we’re being honest, we just want you to say, “Hey, that’s really good cheese.” So we work with whole ingredients, food science, and fermentation to bring out the best in our live cultures, the workhorse of microbes behind the best cheeses in the world.
We are a people-powered company driven to serve plant-based communities far and wide. We share mutual respect for people, planet, and animals and work to support each other with empathy, collaboration, and care.
When we set out on a path to develop a dairy-free cheese, we knew we couldn’t call it cheese without following cheesemaking traditions. Culinary craft remains the center of our work. Paired with a deep care for our customers and bonafide technique, we delve into our work as chefs, artisans, and flavor makers.
This business was built on taking a chance and getting out of our comfort zone. Our a-ha moment came from that wild place where experimentation meets innovation. From one bold experiment, Darë Vegan Cheese was born and so was our taste for the thrill of creation. We took that experience to heart. We choose boldness and courage daily so that we can make the best dairy-free cheese on the market and grow into a company we’re proud of.
Yes, we’re an artisan product, a plant-based alternative. Some might even say, a fancy cheese. But at our core, we’re a pun-loving bunch of people who would rather our products take the spotlight, than us. We don’t like too much fanfare. We just like to make tasty products and let the cheese speak for itself.
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