Monday, March 23, 2009

A Greek Yogurt Threesome!

As you see, I’m shifting direction in my blogging towards topics that reflect my passions. One of my passions is taste tests, a side-by-side comparison on different foods or wine (and, at least in my fiction, lovers ;-)

This morning I did a taste test of plain Greek-style nonfat yogurts and I thought I’d share the results with my blogosphere foodie friends. Greek yogurt is one of my favorite healthy indulgences. It’s rich and creamy, but a nutritional powerhouse, packed full of healthy yogurt cultures and extremely high in protein. I used to be an uber-carb girl—Life cereal for breakfast, bagel and peanut butter for lunch, pasta for dinner. This fit with my vegetarian preferences, but I was always hungry between meals. Then I discovered the satisfying magic of eating lean protein at every meal. Protein lasts and it’s brain food. I’ve definitely noticed that a breakfast of yogurt and high-protein cereal makes a difference to my writing productivity.

Back to my fat-free Greek yogurt taste test. I compared three brands: Fage Greek Yogurt, the most available brand in supermarkets (it’s also at Trader Joe’s at a discount and Costco in larger tubs for a good price); Stonyfield Farm’s Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt from Whole Foods; and Trader Joe’s house brand Greek yogurt. I tasted them unadorned, but usually add a touch of cinnamon (which controls blood sugar naturally) and vanilla. Here are my notes:

Fage (pronounced Fah-yeh): This is the only brand I’d had before. It’s readily available but expensive--$4 plus for two servings. The texture is thick, rather like whipped cream cheese, so it doesn’t mix with fruit or cereal as smoothly. The taste was mild and familiar. This is definitely the choice for cooking or baking. 120 calories per 1 cup serving, 20 grams of protein, $4.59 for two servings at Trader Joe’s, more elsewhere.

Oikos: Creamier than Fage. The first taste is tart, but expands into a very subtle and complex yogurt flavor. I was reminded of Bulgarian yogurt. I also got a hit of sitting on a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. The poet’s choice, if you can find it, plus it's organic. 120 calories per 1 cup serving, 23 grams of protein, $4.99 for two servings at Whole Foods.

Trader Joe’s house brand: This is the thinnest of the three and also has the biggest hit of tartness out of the gate. However the flavor quickly fades. Quality-wise, this comes in third, but the price is right and I think without competition it will satisfy nicely. 120 calories per 1 cup serving, 22 grams of protein, $2.79 for two servings at Trader Joe’s.

My conclusion is that I’ll stick with the occasional Fage, but will splurge on an Oikos when I’m hankering for a trip to southern Europe.

8 comments:

Erobintica said...

I love Fage. Found the same with Trader Joe's (one of my few disappointments with Joe) - haven't tried Oikos yet.

Been bad with carbs lately - tomorrow I'm going low again - need to detox.

thanks for this reminder of a yummy food.

Donna said...

Yes, this is the perfect food for detoxing. Too bad Trader Joe's didn't get it quite right!

Kirsten Monroe said...

Wow -- thanks Donna! What's your favorite dish with Greek yogurt?

.....food dish that is!

Donna said...

I haven't really cooked with it, Kirsten, but I've seen a lot of recipes, being the food voyeur that I am. A green tea panna cotta recipe sounded good, and much lower in fat than the usual cream-based type.

Do you have any favorite recipes?

Erobintica said...

I love that cucumber garlic yogurt thing - for some reason I cannot remember it's name right now.

Donna said...

Hey Robin, were you thinking about Tzatziki? I'd think Fage might be a bit thick for that, but the others would work.

Kirsten Monroe said...

I haven't really cooked with it much -- mostly as a dollop or spread here and there.

Might have to do some experimenting!

Erobintica said...

Yes, that's it - but I have made it with Fage and maybe it's because I like it thicker rather than runnier. Hehe.

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