It’s probably an exaggeration to say that there’s a new yogurt on offer every single time I go to the store, but it doesn’t feel like it. Where my local market’s yogurt section used to consist of one four-shelf unit in the corner of a refrigerated room, there are now three all covered floor to ceiling with every type and flavor of yogurt imaginable. And I get it, yogurt is quick and convenient. Plus, some of the newer varieties are surprisingly nutrient dense and delicious without packing in the sugar. The stuff we ate when I was a kid was little more than a glorified dessert, but what they sell now can reasonably be considered a meal. So, recently I decided to pick up a selection of specialty yogurts and hold an impromptu yogurt sampling in my kitchen. My husband took it way more seriously than I did. These are the results.
Siggi’s isn’t technically yogurt. It’s Icelandic Skyr; a thick, creamy, slightly tangy yogurt-like dairy product that goes light on added sugar. Really light. Most varieties have only half — and sometimes even less — as much sugar as normal, mainstream yogurts. It comes in non-fat, 2% and whole-milk versions, and while you can get all the usual yogurt flavors — strawberry, raspberry, peach, blueberry, mixed berry, vanilla — where Siggi’s really shines is with their more off-the-wall flavor combos. Fig & Lemon Zest, Pomegranate & Passion Fruit, and Orange & Ginger are all two thumbs way up.
If you’re someone who likes to mix a little granola into your yogurt in the morning and call it a parfait, Dreaming Cow is the specialty yogurt for you. It is, by far, the runniest yogurt in this bunch. If you transitioned to greek when that craze hit and then to something like Siggi’s later on, you will probably be surprised at the consistency of Dreaming Cow, but you won’t be turned off by it. Dreaming Cow calls their yogurt New Zealand Style cream-top, which means there’s a thin layer of cream on top when you open the cup the same way there is a layer of cream on top of non-homogenized milk. It’s lower in sugar in that most mainstream yogurts; made from milk from a mixed-breed, grass-fed herd of cows in Southern Georgia; and comes in unique flavors like Vanilla Agave, Dark Cherry Chai and, my favorite so far, Blueberry Cardamom.
If you have a dairy allergy, a vegan lifestyle or an extreme sweet tooth, So Delicious coconut milk yogurt will satisfy all of it. It’s dairy-free, soy-free and super sweet. It doesn’t contain much protein, but does come in both regular and greek varieties. I would definitely consider it a sweet treat, but not so much a breakfast food.
Redwood Hill Farm
If you like goat milk, you’ll probably love Redwood Hill Farm goat milk yogurt. If you don’t like goat milk, you might still like Redwood Hill Farm goat milk yogurt. Seriously. Even my goat-milk averse husband said, “Hmm, not bad.” And if you knew him, you’d know that to be a huge compliment. It’s made with whole goat milk, sweetened with honey and strained for a nice thick consistency, plus Redwood Hill Farm is woman-owned. Huge bonus!
Powerful Yogurt, Lemon Chia
I’m skeptical of anything that’s made specifically for bodybuilder and crossfit types. As a community, these people are not known for their foodie-ness. Some of them, sure. Most of them, definitely not. Seventeen egg whites in a rubbermaid tub does not a flavor-packed breakfast make. Powerful Yogurt pleasantly surprised me though. It’s smooth, creamy and the flavor is subtle and nicely balanced. Though I will say, as is usual with a lot of these protein products, the protein to carb ratio isn’t astounding. Siggi’s has more protein per gram of carbohydrate, and fewer additives. Still, as food products go, this one has a short ingredient list and great flavor. I’d eat it again, and my husband says it was his favorite.
Diana Prichard is an ag and food journalist, photographer, award-winning author and filmmaker who lives and works on a small farm in Michigan. She blogs about life on the farm here, tweets sarcasm here and shares lots of farm photos on Instagram. You can check out her pictures and stories on ag, food security and policy from three continents here.