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French / European-style yogurt?

I spent a brief time in Paris last year, where I became addicted to european yogurt. The ones I liked you could get at any random supermarket (e.g. bon marche), and came in little glass or ceramic jars. Very creamy... is there anything vaguely similar that can be had in the city?

Also, can anyone shed light on what makes this stuff so much better? Is is just higher fat content, or is it something else?

I'm willing to travel for the real thing...

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  1. I'm not sure if it qualifies as European yogurt (or should that be youghurt?), but Greek/Middle Eastern yogurt certainly qualifies as much creamier and tastier than the garbage Dannon et. al. (Stonyfield is owned by Dannon) try to call yogurt. The secret ingrdient is, alas, fat, and lots of it: 20g, 16 of them saturated, in a 7 oz. serving. But life is short, and fat tastes good. Mind you, I don't know if it's just fat. I doubt that it's just fat; my hope is that they use better ingredients, better cows, real milk, and, well, it helps not to have mounds of sugar and corn syrup or names like Danimals added to the yogurt.

    As far as this Mediterranean yogurt option goes, you have a few choices. Total is the big name, available at Fairway, Whole Foods, and, well, most ok groceries, but it's WAY overpriced. I'm a big fan of the Lebanese yogurts you can get in Middle Eastern stores or at Kalustyan's. You can get a good size buckt of yogurt for about $3. Finally, there's that yogurt place down in Soho, but I think it's no better than Total or the Lebanese stuff.

    5 Replies
    1. re: jasmurph

      I think you might be referring to FAGE yogurt. It comes in three types. Total (with the most fat and calories), 2% (my preference) and Light.

      This yogurt can be found in virtually any dairy section. My corner deli even sells it.

      I found that it is the cheapest at Trader Joes...$1.69.

      I add a packet of Splenda, a dash of vanilla and some sort of fruit each morning. It's so much better than the Dannon-type yogurts.

      1. re: jenniebnyc

        I believe the original post refers to yoplait - the french fresh,
        not the supermarket variety available here. It comes packed in
        small ceramic container and was sold for about a year by Ideal
        Cheese on First Ave @ 52nd. The trouble was that it didn't sell
        fast enough and was too often spoiled..perhaps because it wasn't
        chock full of perservative.

        1. re: serious

          yes! ( http://www.yoplait.fr/index.php/en/49... ) here is a picture of it on yoplait's french site, though, oddly enough, it's not listed in their "products" section.

          I am a park slope food coop member, maybe I can ask them to source it..

        2. re: jenniebnyc

          Fage is 1.69 at Fairway as well. I also like the 2% over the 0% (and I love the Total, but alas can only bring myself to get it occasionally). Fairway also has the large tubs of it which is a much better bargain than the individual serving sizes.

          1. re: jenniebnyc

            I also love Greek FAGE (in plastic container with or without separate honey compartment) but I have not seen it in ceramic or glass jars as per OP's request.

        3. Get great full-fat yougurt by the pound at International Foods on 9th Avenue in back of the bus station....about 40th street. west side of street.

          1. i think it's the high fat content. liberte has a high fat yogurt, and the fruity flavors may be closer to the stuff you were eating in france than the tangier greek/middle eastern high fat and strained yogurts. they sell it at fairway.
            though it may not be what you're looking for, i find the ronnybrook farms yogurt drinks extraordinary. they are creamy and rich, but without the super-fatty richness of the high fat liberte (which is too much for me). their product is not 100% consistent--sometimes it's runnier than usual, or sweeter. they have a shop in chelsea market, and are at the greenmarket in union square wed/sat and tompkin square park on sundays

            1 Reply
            1. re: rose water

              I adore Ronnybrook Dairy Farm's yogurt (not their yogurt drinks). But for some reason I think their vanilla tastes funny. I really like their plain. It's only $1 a cup (at 97th St. greenmarket).

            2. Although the higher fat content is certainly an issue, I don't think that's the whole story. I lived in Paris as a student some years ago, and I found the dairy and produce there amazing - far superior to what we have here.

              I recently started eating Emmi, which is Swiss. It's quite good.

              1. It's not just the fat. It's the milk that goes into making the yogurt. Even the mass-produced stuff just tastes better here (in Europe)--I'm convinced it has to do with the diet and treatment of the animals. When I visited the US this summer, I couldn't get my son to eat/drink any milk, yogurt, etc., even when I bought the "organic" full-fat stuff. He said it tasted horrible and made him feel sick--and he was right... In France, the stuff in the glass containers is probably Dannon--unfortunately, their US products don't have anything to do with their European ones. I think the only way to find something equivalent would be to get some micro-farmed local yogurt.

                1 Reply
                1. re: butterfly

                  This is the exact reason why we have bad french desserts in US. WIthout good milk/cream, it's hard to duplicate that rich desserts of France.