Several summers ago I worked as the Food Service Director at a well known scout camp. One of the ladies who worked with me was a sweet older Greek woman who had the most addicting laughter. During one of these laughing bouts, I pulled out a container of Mountain High Yoghurt for a snack. Being far-sighted, she picked up the plastic container and held it so that she could read the nutritional contents. Her laughter stopped short and her silence piqued my interest. "What?" was my quick response, while I quickly chopped fruit. The silence continued. I stopped everything to see what she was doing as she firmly placed the yoghurt container on the counter. "You like this stuff?" Her concerned face made me defensive and worried at the same time. Cautiously, I nodded. She then told me Greek yogurt was the way to go. "It is thick creamy and high in protein. Just make sure not too eat too much or else you'll get fat!" she cautioned. I didn't have any desire to try Greek yogurt, but I listened and we spent the next half hour pronouncing "Fage."
After the summer ended, I went grocery shopping and was about to get another container of Mountain High Yoghurt, but next to it was Fage. I purchased the Mountain High Yoghurt, but I also bought a small container of Fage with honey, since that apparently is the Greek way to eat yogurt according to my cook. After getting home, I eagerly peeled back the thin foil off of the Fage and I proceeded to consume. That experience transformed my yogurt experience forever.
Although I love Greek yogurt, the calories are unreal. I originally tried it at the suggestion of a kind Greek woman, but I kept eating it due to the high protein content and the thick addicting creamy texture. Greek yogurt began to take off at this time and other variations of this treat began to crop up at every grocery store. Amid the knock-off craze, a curious new yogurt appeared at Target (of all places.) Upon inspecting the nutritional content, I couldn't believe my eyes! I have finally found a solution to my yogurt woes! I discovered Siggi's Skyr. It has high protein, low-calorie content, and it is even thicker and creamier than Greek yogurt.
Next came the taste test. I selected several different skyr flavors to sample and I ran home for a tasting. Yes, it was definitely thicker and creamier than anything I have had to date. The taste was better than I expected. Honestly, I was scared that the yogurt would be sour after reading such a short list of ingredients. It only has a hint of sweetness, but it is well-balanced all around. Don't let the lack of sweetness deter you; it is genuinely delicious and doesn't have any hidden unnatural ingredients.
What Is Skyr?
Skyr (pronounced skeer) is marketed as an Icelandic yogurt, although it is technically a skim milk cheese. (No, it does not taste cheesy.) The first Nordic settlers of Iceland are responsible for this wonderful concoction, giving credit to their food preservation skills. It is a naturally fat-free, smooth, and light treat.
The Facts: Greek Versus Skyr
The following is the bare nutritional facts. We compared Fage plain yogurt to Siggi's plain yogurt.
Fage Ingredients: Grade A Pasteurized Milk and Cream, Live Active Yogurt Cultures (L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei).
Siggi's Ingredients: Pasteurized Skim Milk, Live (B. lactis, L. acidophilus, L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, L. delbrueckii subsp. lactis, S. thermophilus).
Verdict: Cream and milk versus skim. Win for skyr.
18 g protein
8 g carbs
10 g fat
70 mg sodium
8 g sugar
30 mg cholesterol
6% Vitamin A
15 g protein
5 g carbs
0 g fat
60 mg sodium
4 g sugar
0 mg cholesterol
0% Vitamin A
Verdict: Fage has vitamin A, where Siggi's does not. Fage also has 3 grams more protein than Siggi's. On the other hand, Siggi's has no fat or cholesterol, half the calories and sugar of Fage, 3 grams less carbohydrates, 10 mg less sodium, and the same amount of calcium. By far, Siggi's wins again.
Who Can Benefit From Skyr?
According to Skyr.is, skyr has "next to no fat and exceptional levels of calcium and protein, skyr is an ideal food for active people and as a supplement to a healthy lifestyle. The benefits of skyr certainly contribute to Icelander’s being Europe´s longest-living people." Whether or not it actually aids in longevity, it is a delicious health food, fantastic for everyone who wants something nutritious.
Where Can I Get Some?
Skyr in the U.S. seems to centralize around the East Coast. Generally, your local Whole Foods will (probably) carry skyr. If they do not, simply ask for it! Originally, I only found it at a Super Target, but now it is carried at all of the health food stores around the Bay Area, including Whole Foods and Sprouts. There are two types available to date: Siggi's and Skyr (from Iceland.) Siggi's is made in New York and as such, can readily be found compared to Skyr(.is), which is much more expensive to import to stores across the country. As for which one tastes best, I leave that to the East Coast population. Being on the West Coast, I only have access to Siggi's, but I have never been disappointed. From the sparse reviews on the web, from what I gather, Siggi's is thicker than Skyr(is), but aside from that, the general taste is similar and of course, the health benefits are comparable.
Take it from me, a chef with a discriminating and exacting palate- skyr will rock your world if you take the leap of faith and try it. Just like regular yogurt or Greek yogurt, it can be used in a multitude of recipes. I promise you will not be disappointed.