Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I'm in love with a Greek

You got it! A non-fat Greek yogurt. I don't eat yogurt as a rule, I rarely eat dairy. A couple reasons, with the first being that dairy is not a good food choice to select when you want to stay lean, so I just don't eat it.

I am lactose intolerant so I cannot have milk or milk products, including ice cream. Lucky me! I don't have to worry about ice cream cravings because I never crave something that whacks my entire body.

But yogurt I can have small amounts without a problem. I use it in place of sour cream, so a dollop in soup, maybe a small amount mixed with tuna instead of mayo. That's it! I don't remember the last time I ate an entire carton of the stuff, kind of sounds gross actually.

I used to buy Vosko's, well no more. Not after I read this and bought some Trader Joe's to try. It is thick, like clotted cream and rich and so creamy, it puts the non-fat sour cream to shame! Even my husband tried it and said "oh my, I can eat that!"

Here is the influential article from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Wouldn't you know? Just as Taster's Choice was lamenting the lack of Hall of Fame products from 2010, our first panel of the new year yielded a new inductee to our holy grail of supermarket shelf items.

The category: nonfat, plain Greek-style yogurt.

The winner: Trader Joe's, by a nearly unanimous vote.

In a tasting that demanded textural perfection, Trader Joe's ($1.99 for 16 ounces) became a Hall of Famer by earning more than 80 points out of a possible 100.

One panelist gave it perfect marks - "rich, creamy, no graininess," she cooed. "Good balanced flavor" with a "nice, fresh tang," others wrote. While the "dense" yogurt is fat free, "the milk flavor comes through." Four tasters would buy this brand, and the other might.

Chobani ($1.49 for 6 ounces at Whole Foods) was second. "Milky with balanced tartness," this "smooth" and "mild" yogurt had "good up-front taste." But some noted an "almost slight sour-milk residual," while another said it "could be tarter for my tastes." Three would buy, one might, and one would not.

Third place went to Voskos ($2.19 for 8 ounces at Safeway). While this "mild" yogurt had a "creamy mouthfeel," tasters mostly found it "a bit bland" - "the faint flavor has no depth." "Looks creamy, but texture is chalky." Two would buy, two might, and one wouldn't.

In fourth place was Oikos, made by Stonyfield Farm ($1.99 for 5.3 ounces at Safeway). This "very tangy" yogurt is for those who seek "a good level of tartness." Those who don't, beware: it was also described as "very sour" and "too tart - almost metallic." Three would buy, while two would not.

Athenos ($2.99 for 16 ounces at Safeway) rounded out the top five. Better known for its hummus, this brand had the "smooth" and "creamy" texture, but the taste? "Sour" and "much too tart" for some; "quite mild" and "bland" for others. One thing our panelists seemed to agree on, though: "not so milky." Two would buy, two might, and one would not.

 

Nonfat Greek-style yogurt


Trader Joe's 82

Chobani 71

Voskos 67

Oikos 61

Athenos 60

Brown Cow 56

Fage 54

Karoun 39

Greek God 32

Panelists were Linda Anusasananan, food writer/consultant, San Mateo; John Carroll, cookbook author, San Francisco; Shelley Handler, consultant, San Francisco; Rosemary Mark, recipe developer, Walnut Creek; Roland Passot, chef-owner of La Folie in San Francisco and three Left Banks. All products are tasted blind; a perfect score would be 100. Prices listed are the lowest found, but products may be available at other stores.
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