Product Review Special: Yogurt

I’ve been eating a lot of yogurt lately, because I’m on antibiotics and I want to replace some of the natural flora in my digestive system that are being killed by the drugs. I like yogurt okay, but it’s not my absolute favorite food. I’m managing to enjoy one carton per day. No, I don’t make yogurt.

I look for yogurts with a relatively low calorie count per serving. I admit to having a powerful sweet tooth and like my yogurt to be creamy, sweet (but not treacly) and loaded with pieces of fruit. There should be a good tart background, and it should be thick enough to have a little coating effect before I swallow. I eat mostly blueberry yogurt (I’m actually allergic to many fruits, including the ubiquitous strawberry), so most of these are about the blueberry variety…

The absolute best of the best is Total 0%. I love this stuff so much that I eat it even when I’m not on antibiotics. I usually keep some of this thick, creamy, rich Greek yogurt for quick tzatziki and raita condiment-making. (I like savory yogurt much more than sweet yogurt.) Drawbacks: it’s expensive and hard to find at the supermarkets in town. (Everybody closer to DC sells it–Whole Foods, Giant, Harris Teeter, Trader Joe’s–so I often buy it while out and about.)  I love the little pack that comes with a spicy Greek honey and indulge in that sometimes as a special treat. I also like to stir whatever random cool honey I have in the cupboard into the regular 0% as a dessert.

My sleeper favorite is Cascade Fresh. I love that this yogurt is nonfat and has 8 different bacteria. It’s fruit juice sweetened, which mostly means the fruity flavor is enhanced rather than overwhelmed by sugary goodness. The blueberry is good, packed with lots of real blueberries that taste like they came from a bush rather than an industrial-sized freezer. For really, really good Cascade Fresh yogurt, reach past the blueberry for the cherry vanilla variety. I love the floral aroma and rust color of this stuff. And it’s usually only about 10 cents more than ordinary Dannon, a worthwhile tariff for such an improvement in flavor.

Speaking of Dannon, their new Dannon All Natural Blueberry is pretty damn good. Granted, it only approaches the other yogurts in calorie count because a serving is 4oz (compared to 6oz for a standard carton of yogurt). Granted #2, it’s made with lowfat milk instead of skim, so it benefits from that extra fat in terms of mouthfeel. This is also a very sweet yogurt. It’s more of a dessert food than breakfast or healthy snack, but it’s a really satisfying dessert and worth checking out.

Words cannot describe my disappointment with Stonyfield Farm organic fat-free blueberry yogurt. The product appeared (and tasted) like a curdled, flavorless mess. Don’t be taken in by the cool packaging or the novelty of buying an organic product from a regular supermarket.

I’d rather eat a bucket of Stonyfield than touch Dannon Activia Light or Weight Watchers yogurts. I think there’s something about yogurt that requires sugar or fruit juice as a sweetener, because the artificial sweeteners seem to result in a bitter, off-tasting product. Yuckola.

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