Yoghurt of the Week

Yoghurt lovers, rejoice! It’s autumn, time of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Time of new pencil cases, conkers, and woolly jumpers which look great in the shop but shrink in the wash. More importantly, time of yoghurt.

Sometimes I buy yoghurt because I’ve run out. Sometimes I buy yoghurt because I can’t resist a 2 for £3 on Rachel’s Organic (AND WHO CAN?). Sometimes I buy yoghurt because it’s on my Ocado Favourites list. And sometimes I buy yoghurt because it’s so perfect, it’s like the gods of yoghurt were looking down on me.

I was on the way to work. I had a banana. I had some figs. And look at this. Form AND function. Look at its perfect generous breakfast proportions. Look at its little pot of honey on the side because who has honey at work? Look upon its works, ye mighty, and rejoice.

Fage Total 0% Fat Free Greek Yoghurt with Honey

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Flavour – 4/5: the yoghurt itself would probably only merit a 2 or 3. Yoghurt was simply not made to be fat free. For all the adverts with glossy-skinned women purring that ‘it’s so rich and creamy’, there’s always a weird chalkiness about fat-free Greek yoghurt. However, the honey, oh good lord, the honey. Presumably this is not the finest quality of honey what with it being found in the chiller cabinet of sainsburys, packaged in a small plastic divided container and all. But man, those guys at Fage know how to pick a mass produced honey. Melty, sweet and buttery. MMmmmmmmm.

Value for money – 3/5: in big yoghurty terms, not such great value, individual pots meaning false economy and all, but in morning al desko breakfast terms, particularly at 2 for £1.20, EXCELLENT value.

Spelling – 5/5: YOGHURT!!!! With an H!!!!!! And this is Greek Yoghurt!!!! You know, the ancient people who are the fount of all knowledge and therefore RIGHT. A truly great day, a moral yoghurt victory.

Presentation – 4/5: not amazing, decidedly continental in its design in fact. However, MASSIVE bonus marks for featuring a pronunciation guide, hence the 4/5.

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Recommendation: for the ultimate moveable feast. Particularly when you’re somewhere it won’t be inappropriate to be wiping round a small plastic triangular pot of honey with your tongue to get the last bits.

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Yoghurt of the Week

Being loudly in love with yoghurt is a bit like having gallstones. You think you’re the only one, then as soon as it happens to you, turns out it’s happened to EVERYONE. When I first started this yoghurt blog, I generally had one of two reactions – an amused dismissal (in front of my face, probably wringing of hands and doubting of sanity behind my back) or a joyful recognition and a shout of ‘I love yoghurt TOO!’. Colleagues would seek me out in the office kitchen to disclose their general ardent feelings towards fermented dairy products, or would stop at my desk on the way to get a cup of tea in order to tell me about that day’s yoghurt breakfast discovery.

Let me say, it was astounding. It gave me hope and convinced me that mine was not a one-woman struggle. Oh no. Look around you now: I can bet that at least two of the innocent looking public are Secret Yoghurt Lovers. Look at their relaxed yet invigorated expression. Feel their deep sense of amazement and wonder. Don’t you want to be like them? Join us.*

Anyway, I digress slightly from the original point which was that it was a colleague who initially made me aware of Rachel’s Greek Coconut Yoghurt when she cornered me one day in a quiet office corner and whispered fervently that it was the best yoghurt she’d ever had and that she used to eat the entire thing, straight out of the pot with a spoon. Subject to this kind of hard sell, just one year later, I got the yoghurt down off its pedestal and into my fridge.

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Yoghurt of the Week: Rachel’s Organic Greek-Style Coconut Bio-Live Yogurt

Flavour- 4/5: like actual cream mixed with desiccated coconut in it. I like cream and I like desiccated coconut so this is is not a bad thing, just a little disconcerting. I’m aware that lots of people don’t like desiccated coconut (I’ve now written desiccated four times more than I’ve ever written it before. And spelt it wrong EVERY time) but, being brought up in a childhood full of coconut ice and curry of varying quality, this is not a problem for me. It’s more the cream-like nature that is odd, I mean it is genuinely the creamiest yoghurt I’ve ever tasted and sometimes that’s just a little too much for anyone.

Value for money – 2/5: comparing this directly with Waitrose Extra Thick Double Cream, it works out as 2.3p MORE expensive per 100g. And that’s before the desiccated coconut to stir into it. So I can only conclude that it is NOT good value.

Spelling – 0/5: come on Rachel, I know the title of your yoghurt is Really Long (8 words and two hyphens) but that’s really no excuse.

Presentation – 2/5: not sure about this. Too many fonts, slightly naff ‘Greekishness’ and that bluey-green slightly reminds me of 1970s bathroom suites. But doesn’t it look nice in my garden?

Recommendation: would actually be amazing instead of cream alongside a nice slice of cake. Something like a lemon and raspberry cake. Talking of raspberries, here is my actual serving suggestion with frozen raspberries and pistachios. I absolutely definitely have a beautiful and chi-chi breakfast like this every morning, and in no way was this carefully put together and curated in the manner of a stylish American food blog as a sort of breakfast dessert on a hungover Saturday after my actual breakfast of toast and marmite.

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*there’s no actual club to join, FYI, it’s just hyperbole. Please don’t send any membership subscriptions or direct debit details, that would just be embarrassing and slightly awkward.

Yoghurt of the Week

I know. I know. Don’t start. Let’s just move on.

How could I possibly continue my absence from the Yoghurt Commentary Frontline in the face of THIS??????

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Seriously, this is big yoghurt news. Without further ado…..

Yeo Valley 0% fat Orange, Carrot and Mango

Flavour: 2/5 – there’s no getting around it, this yoghurt tastes distinctly odd. I’m just not sure what they’re really thinking with the carrot. Has anyone, ever, while eating yoghurt ever thought “you know, if there’s one thing this yoghurt’s missing, if there’s just one flavour that would really enhance this otherwise delicious creamy enjoyable experience, it’s a note of VEGETABLE.”? No. They have not.

Value for money: 2/5 – I’m not sure what price I would pay for yoghurt that actively tasted of carrot but whatever this was, it was too much.

Spelling: 3/5 – as ever, Yeo Valley rather duck the issue with their ‘Yeogurt’ title. Should be a 0/5 due to the evident lack of ‘h’ but if there’s one thing I love as much as yoghurt, it’s a pun, so they get a grudging 3/5 for their yoghurt-producing-based wordplay.

Presentation: 3/5 – classic as the Yeo Valley packaging now is in their place as Grande Dame of the quality yoghurt kingdom, I’m a little bit bored of it. Also, I feel like they’ve gone for the ‘nonspecific orange blob’ design with sinister intent to disguise the CARROT WEIRDNESS to hapless buyers.

Overall satisfaction: 2/5 – Oh Yeo. I’m disappointed. Having just thrown myself back into the yoghurt world full-tilt, I’m currently in love with your basic standard natural yoghurt and hold it, and ergo you, to a higher standard. This is sloppy sensationalism producing, ironically, a really crappy sensation.

Recommendation: give it to your enemies and tell them it’s just a straightforward fruity yoghurt. A subtle revenge, it’s true, but all the more satisfying for it.

Yoghurt Recipe

Let’s be honest, this cold, grey, most miserable of months, the cool, clean, magical taste of yoghurt can seem like a poor second choice to a slice of buttery toast or a fat sausage sandwich. But, most ardent of yoghurt lovers, I have a delicious yoghurt breakfast recipe which will get you out of bed in the morning. Or will at least make you mildly less grumpy to be out from underneath your duvet.

It’s essentially a Bircher muesli. I’m not exactly sure of the origins of this dish but, rather unappetisingly, I believe it has something to do with a Scandinavian health farm in the seventies. There’s now a hipsterfied American version called ‘overnight oats’ which is generally found on Pinterest, served out of a mason jar with a pastel spoon.

This is somewhere on the middle and basically consists of me mixing some oats with some yoghurt, fruit, nuts and perhaps other gubbins.

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These are the oats I use and that is absolutely because they are the perfect size and cut to eat with no heat and IN NO WAY because they come in a lovely retro package and are one of the only products at Wholefoods which costs less than my weekly wage. Although honestly, it is quite a good idea to use a smaller oat for this recipe rather than the really rough-cut jumbo ones which can prove a little too worthy.

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This is the yoghurt I used because it was in my fridge. Any yoghurt will do – natural is great, full-fat is really the best, flavoured could take this in all sorts of freaky directions, some of which would no doubt be good.

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So, this is the bit which can be done in advance – mix up the oats, the yoghurt and any dried fruits and nuts which you like. I had this funky looking pack on the cupboard which was great but anything will do – raisins, sultanas, cranberries, almonds, hazelnuts etc etc etc. if you’re looking to bring a bit more of the seventies health farm feel, you could also throw in some seeds. I know it’s the least helpful thing to say but really just put in as much of each ingredient as you feel until it looks like a sloppy, porridgey mess. If it’s too solid, add a splash of water or some milk, if it’s too liquid, add some more oats.

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Then, when you’re ready to eat it, grate in an apple and add whatever other fruit you have. Frozen berries are amazing for this, super cheap and just sitting in the freezer forever.

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And there we are, chucked in a pretty bowl and ponced up with some pistachios and honey for the purpose of this photo. Something really delicious, substantial but quite cheery at the same time.

Yoghurt Of The Week

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New year, new yoghurt. I have resolutions a-go-go to write more about everything AND to eat more yoghurt, which can only be a win win situation for you Yoghurt Lovers.

So, without further ado, let’s crack on with this week’s Yoghurt of the Week.

Fresh & Wild Organic Bilberry Yoghurt

Flavour: 4/5 – an excellent yoghurt, the actual yoghurt portion is balanced with a natural creaminess, the bilberry bottom (!) has the grittiness of having been made with real, actual berries and isn’t too sweet. If we’re going to be really petty about it (and where, if not here, can one revel in ones full petty yoghurt potential?) it was a tad on the thick and gloopy side, but I think that’s tending toward the ungenerous. Now, to address the elephant in the room, what is a bilberry? No, really, what IS a bilberry? Is it just a blueberry with ideas above its station? Some kind of bizarre cross between dill and blackberries? Google will be accurate on this matter, but less interesting than always wondering.

Value for money: 3/5 – why OH WHY do I always forget how much my yoghurt costs, when I know that there is a specific section on my yoghurt blog called ‘value for money’? I think it was around £1.10. Or perhaps £1.30. Also, it was from Wholefoods so, as ever, value is relative.

Spelling: 0/5 – see above, it’s some kind of Wholefoods/Fresh & Wild own brand so American, yadda yadda yadda, what do you expect etc etc.

Presentation: 2/5 – disappointing. I mean, the major attraction of Wholefoods is that everything just looks so damn pretty. That’s why it seems like an ace idea to spend £47.34 on two yoghurts, a small avocado and some multicoloured tortilla chips. So I will file this in the ‘could do better’ file.

Overall satisfaction: 4/5 – the perfect New Year yoghurt. Basically wholesome, definitely made from Good Things (ingredients list includes things like ‘locust bean gum’ and ‘natural yoghurt cultures’ which must be good, right? Because, you know, health.) and it’s organic if you’re into that. But it still tastes pretty good, no January martyrdom here.

Recommendation: Resolve to eat this yoghurt.

Yoghurt of the Week

Yoghurt lovers! Tis the time of year when the bells are ringing, the carollers are singing, the turkeys are looking decidedly twitchy and the white stuff is all around. Yes, all I want for Christmas is Yoghurt.*

I can’t put into words how excited I was when the PR from The Collective Dairy got in touch and said they’d like to send me yoghurt. Yes, I have now truly realised my dream of confirming my status as London’s only premier yoghurt blogger. I dared to hope previously, but only now is it really happening. I am being sent yoghurt to my home, delivered by a man on a motorbike, in a special sexy black Yoghurt Cooling Bag. Quite honestly, when it arrived, I did a little dance.

After I stopped dancing, I then had to avoid the temptation to pour all the yoghurt into the bath and jump into it like a pig rolling in mud. And luckily I did, for as fun as that would have been (and don’t pretend for a moment you don’t know what I mean) the nuance of flavours may have been slightly compromised.

For flavour is what it’s all about, and Christmas Pudding flavour at that. Christmas Pudding flavour yoghurt. I’ll just give you a while to let that sink in.

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No, I wasn’t sure about this either but luckily, for you, my favourite yoghurt lovers, I persevered and after a few short minutes, the entire family-sized tub looked a little like this. In fact, it looked exactly like this.

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Yes, it was opened, doubted, given a second chance, embraced, devoured and celebrated, all in what I would describe as a short ten minutes.

I will attempt to expand on this experience in a full Yoghurt of the Week, which is entirely deserved.

The Collective Dairy’s Christmas Pud Live Gourmet Yoghurt

Flavour: 4/5 – Imagine you’ve eaten the majority of your bowl of Christmas pudding. It’s made you remember why people eat this only once a year. You’re sinking slightly under the weight of sickly fruit and booze and Christmas stodge but, for the sake of politeness or just to occupy your mouth to avoid another festive family row, you have to finish the bowl. You take the last spoonful and pour a massive wave of thick, creamy yoghurt all over it and mix it around and, suddenly, CHRISTMAS PUDDING NIRVANA. It still retains the spicily cosy flavours of the pudding, the plump sultanas swirl through the yoghurt with a ribbon of sticky sauce, there is a final tang of orange to lift the whole mouthful, but it’s moreish, delectable, actually pleasing to eat. This is Christmas Pudding, but better. Just minus a point for containing currants – nobody likes currants, they’re just mean, pointy and bitter from a lifetime of resenting not making it as a raisin.

Value for money: ?/5 – as with the previous yoghurt ecstasy of Blood Orange this transcends the description of mere yoghurt. It therefore cannot be judged against such mortal values such as money (however I think it’s around £1.80-2.50 depending on promotional activity from all good supermarkets near you)

Spelling: 5/5 – OH The Collective Dairy, not only are you true kings of yoghurt, you are EMPERORS of spelling.

Presentation: 3/5 – if there’s ever a time for some cuteness or kitsch, it’s Christmas. Come on TCD, even I could have handled a few more busy elves, speedy reindeer or kittens in stupid-looking Santa hats. A small rig of holly does not the festive mustard cut.

Overall satisfaction: 5/5 – can only be expressed in sexual noises. And this is a family blog.

Recommendation: eat merrily, joyfully and unreservedly in the lead up to, and during the entirety of, Christmas. Yule not regret it. (Oh, come on.)

*if my husband is reading this, PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS LITERALLY. It is merely corroborative detail, designed to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.**
** If anyone recognises that quote, I will buy you a celebratory pot of yoghurt.

Yoghurt of the Week

Yoghurt lovers! It is with no small glee that I address you once more, saddened as I have been to be so remiss with my attention to and reporting on your favourite fermented dairy product.
It’s all America’s fault, really. I went to the glorious U.S. Of A. for two weeks and was so overwhelmed with the constant smorgasbord of savoury, deep fried, salty, delicious, cheese-laden goodies that it seemed to miss the point to pursue the probiotic. The one occasion I wavered and went for the yoghurt option was a dire mistake. I was asked if I wanted natural yoghurt. I said yes, inwardly rejoicing at the thought of something modest with no additives, in its plain and simple form. What arrived was a vast bucket of saccharine, pseudo-vanilla, cloying gloop. I managed about two spoonfuls, and my husband did the same, out of politeness (yes, we are those people) before we had to leave the rest.

Irritatingly, America is apparently going through a massive yoghurt craze
right now, particularly Greek yoghurt and frozen yoghurt, but it may well be more focused in New York and the tofu-heavy bits of the West Coast, which would explain why we didn’t see much in the Deep South. It might be like coming to the UK and wondering why you couldn’t get a flat white or dukka-tahini dip to go with your flatbread in a small pub in the Yorkshire dales (although I’ll bloody well bet there is one somewhere run by an ex-banker from Clapham where you can).

Either way, now I’m back on English soil and ensconced in the usual diet of food which has often not even been coated in breadcrumbs, let alone topped with cheese, and yoghurt is once more my friend. Looking back to my dabble with Italian yoghurt, I think it’s best for all if I stay focused on the yoghurts available on these fair shores.

So, onto this week’s yoghurt of the week: 

Onken Fat Free Natural Biopot Yoghurt

Flavour: 3/5 – ok. Not bad, not good. The texture has a minute amount of gloopiness due to mass production by a large company but it’s pleasingly tart and most un-Americanly free of any sweetness whatsoever. The flavour has a definite essence of real yoghurt but still sort of lacking in something. Perhaps soul.
Value for money: ?/5 – bought by my excellent husband so I have no idea how much it cost.

Spelling: 0/5 – I care not that your ‘Biopot’ is a registered trademark if you can’t even put an ‘h’ in yoghurt.

Presentation: 4/5 – I love this pot. The faux naivety of the font, the cascade of swirling yoghurt reminiscent of Burne Jones’s Golden Staircase, the heavenly presence of the calming pastel blue. It’s yoghurt presentation gone very right.

Overall satisfaction: 3/5 – was I pleased to find this in the fridge? Yes. Has it moderately improved my day now I have eaten some? Yes. If I were out of yoghurt, would I leave the house on a chilly evening to walk seven minutes to the corner shop if I knew this was the only yoghurt they had?
Possibly not.

Recommendation: Good to have in the fridge. Particularly if someone else has put it there.

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