About Icelandic Yogurt
For many years Greek yogurt was the king atop the delicious yogurt mountain. Its unparalleled taste and enormous health benefits ensured that it would remain king for a long time.
But the time has come to step down from the throne. There is a new boss in town and his name is Icelandic yogurt.
Greek yogurt has been the go-to yogurt for many years. In 2013 it was estimated that some 40% of all yogurt sold was Greek yogurt.
The majority of Greek yogurts are actually made in the US instead of being imported from Greece, but they are usually labeled Greek style instead.
Greek yogurt usually contains twice as much protein as regular yogurt and is generally made by straining milk, three cups of milk per one cup of yogurt, to produce fluffy and creamy yogurt. Greek style yogurt can also be made non-fat by using reduced fat milk.
Icelandic yogurt is slightly different from Greek yogurt. It is generally thicker and creamier than our beloved king of yogurts. The Icelandic name for yogurt is skyr and it has been around for a very long time, since about the 9th century. The major difference between Greek yogurt and Icelandic yogurt is that it’s made by straining four cups of milk instead of three like our former king is made.
The result is a thicker yogurt with even more protein. Icelandic yogurt is known to have a higher amount of protein than any other yogurt in the United States.
Another major benefit of Icelandic yogurt is that it’s usually all fat-free and made from 0% fat milk, unless the yogurt is an Icelandic style rather than actually being Icelandic.
Because Icelandic yogurt is so new in the US, there are currently only three companies making it in the country.
However, there is no reason to just stick with the companies that have their HQ in the US; there is nothing wrong with buying the imported stuff.
Out of the few different brands out there, Siggi’s has quickly become our favorite. They produce quality stuff with wonderful ingredients and great leadership. Besides, nothing is better than an Icelandic product being made by an Icelander.
The story of Siggi’s is pretty simple. The company was started by Siggi Hilmarsson in 2004. You see, he was born in Iceland and when he moved to the US he quickly realized that one of his favorite treats from his childhood was nowhere to be found in the states.
Most of our yogurts were far too sweet and artificial for his taste buds. Siggi started experimenting with his mother’s recipe in a small New York City kitchen, and in a few short months his brand was born.
It tasted just like home. True to the traditional Icelandic skyr, Siggi’s skyr also does not contain any artificial ingredients like sweeteners and thickeners.
Siggi’s uses milk from upstate New York farms and Wisconsin. The idea is straightforward: use simple ingredients and a little bit of sugar to make delicious yogurt.
Siggi’s offers three different types of skyr: 0% non-fat yogurt, 2% low-fat yogurt, and 4% whole-milk yogurt.
The traditional Icelandic skyr is completely fat-free, this is why the non-fat Siggi’s yogurt has the most flavors to offer and is his primary product.
If you are in the market for Siggi’s 0% non-fat skyr, then you have the choice between a few flavors: raspberry, strawberry, peach, blueberry, orange & ginger, vanilla, mixed berries & açai, and plain. If you ask us, that’s plenty of different flavors to choose from.
The 2% version of Siggi’s skyr is made by throwing a bit of cream during the production process back into the yogurt to create what’s known as rjóma-skyr, a richer and creamier version of the non-fat skyr.
The flavors of the 2% skyr are a bit more eccentric: coconut, pumpkin & spice, blood orange, black cherry, and lingonberry & strawberry. So if you are looking for something a bit heavier and with a more exotic flavor then the 2% skyr from Siggi’s is the best option for you.
One custom that comes from Iceland when making skyr is pouring fresh cream over your skyr to create a richer and thicker yogurt.
Siggi’s tries to recreate this style of skyr by using whole milk and adding cream to their yogurt. This is where the 4% version of Siggi’s yogurt comes from.
There aren’t as many flavors for the 4% skyr as the others but this doesn’t bother us as much since we are in it for the thicker and heavier taste of this skyr variation.
You can expect to find the 4% skyr in mixed berries, strawberry & rhubarb, vanilla, blueberry, and plain.
Icelandic Yogurt Review Summary
While Siggi’s is definitely an exceptional company and produces some of the best skyr in the United States, they aren’t the only brand that works with Icelandic yogurt. There a few other skyr-making brands out there.
We didn’t dive much into them but most of them do make a quality product. Brands like Smári Organic and Viking Icelandic are pretty popular.
Smári Organic was created by Smári Ásmundsson who was born in Hafnarfjörður, Iceland. He moved to California to study photography.
When he became a father, he realized that he wanted his son to be able to taste the delicious skyr that he was able to enjoy throughout his childhood.
He contacted a family friend who is a skyr-maker and became an apprentice. In no time, he became a master skyr maker and is now producing delicious skyr yogurt with much passion.
Therese & Phil Meers are responsible for giving us Viking Icelandic. This couple grew up around yogurt and knew from the day they met that owning their own business was their goal together.
They wanted to create a yogurt company that represented true Icelandic taste without sacrificing their authenticity.
Experimenting and perfecting their recipe was done in their small apartment throughout their engagement.
Their friends and family noticed how fit they were and asked how they were able to stay in shape; the answer was Viking Icelandic yogurt.
Therese & Phil realized it was time to move up, and the place of destination was Chenango River Valley in upstate New York.
Each of these companies has their own special story and they make quality products with real ingredients.
We believe that no matter which brand you choose, you will be able to benefit from the delicious and healthy benefits that skyr has to offer. Give it a shot, you won’t regret it.