First of all… hi. Long hiatus, I won’t even bother explaining, but please know that the blogging world was in my heart 🙂
I went to Whole Foods recently and had a meltdown in the dairy section because they were out of the yogurt that I usually buy (whole milk plain yogurt by Traders Point Creamery; greatest yogurt EVER). So I resigned myself to scouring the shelves for a temporary replacement. I decided to try Skyr, an Icelandic yogurt that I had read about a few months back. I found a plain single serving 6-ounce container of plain skyr priced at $2.79 (ouch!) and was pleased to find that it had only 100 calories (yay!), 6 grams of carbs (double yay!!) and 17 grams of protein (triple yay!!!). Oh, and it’s fat free (I’m out of ‘yays’ by this point because I’m still reeling that this miracle food exists).
It’s a yogurt made with skim milk; the milk is incubated with live active cultures and rennet. The whey gets strained away and you’re left with something like soft cheese. Not to worry–historically, all that strained-out whey didn’t go to waste; it was used to pickle foods during the winter. You need to use a lot more milk to make skyr–at least 3 or 4 times more milk than it takes to make the regular liquidy yogurt that fills most supermarket shelves–which I guess explains both the higher price tag and the high protein content. Today, it’s made mostly with cows’ milk although it used to be made with both cow’s milk and sheep’s milk.
The following morning, I eagerly opened my container of skyr and turned it upside down over a bowl. Nothing came out. I grabbed a spoon and stuck it in to swirl it around a bit and was surprised to see how thick it was. The taste? Sour, like sour cream mixed with plain yogurt. Consistency? This is yogurt that you can chew. I drizzled my Haitian-smuggled honey and ground cinnamon over it (which is how I normally eat my plain yogurt). It took getting used to; it took me a lot longer to eat because it’s more like a soft cheese than regular yogurt.
Verdict: I love it and now regularly shell out for it. My trusty Traders Point is still the greatest ever, but this stuff has gotta be the coolest ever. I’ve also tried the blueberry and vanilla flavors. But you should be warned–none of the flavors take away that tangy mouth-puckering dairy taste, so don’t expect blueberry-infused skyr to taste like sugary fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt. All flavorings are very subtle. I’m enjoying mixing in different ingredients–I like to add a spoon of vanilla extract to it. Sometimes I mix in some of the more liquidy plain yogurt. I might try it with jam and fruit sometime–Icelanders often eat it this way. Apparently Icelanders also stir in milk & sugar, or cream & sugar. I can’t imagine adding cream to such a creamy cheesy dairy product, but Icelanders have been making and eating this stuff for about ten centuries, so I readily assume they’ve come up with sound recipes for this product along the way.
I tried Siggi’s skyr, a New York-based skyr-making company started by a homesick Icelandic immigrant named Siggi Hilmarsson. I buy this particular brand at Whole Foods, but it sells in other specialty shops too. Siggi’s flavors include plain (yum), blueberry (yum), vanilla (yum), orange & ginger (would like to try), pomegranate & passion fruit (have no desire to try, as I hate passion fruit), acai (would like to try), and grapefruit (curious). Certain Whole Foods locations also carry another brand called Skyr.is, but it’s not at my location. Major kudos to the skyr.is website for sharing lots of fun skyr recipes with the public! Happy eating!