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Nostalgic for French yogurt; seeking recs

I recently returned from a vacation in Paris, and I miss the aisles and aisles of delicious flavored yogurts as much as anything else. There were such fantastic flavor combos that I couldn't wait to eat some yogurt...in the U.S. I have to remind myself to eat it, like a vitamin. Flavored yogurt aficianados, what are your favorite brands, preferably gelatin-free? I have tried the La Speza, and it's delicious, but I'm bored of it. I don't care about fat content. I'm in Los Angeles, so if anyone knows of anything available locally, please tell!

And I know I could just flavor some good-quality Greek yogurt myself, but that's just not something I'd do on a weekday.

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  1. Speaking of Greek yogurt, TJ's carries single serving Greek-style yogurts in several flavors, including fig, and they also have an Italian yogurt that comes in little jars in a couple of unusual flavors. I've seen a Swiss brand called Emmi in upscale groceries that is more like French yogurt.

    But honestly, I flavor my own Greek yogurt. I use a good quality jam or marmalade and it takes two seconds to spoon a tablespoon into my plain yogurt. I keep several different flavors in the fridge at work (right now I have grapefruit, raspberry and tangerine) and honey, and I do it every day.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I noticed at Trader Joe's today they have new line of yogurt "Coffeehouse" "European Style" lowfat yogurt. I bought the chocolate flavor and it's quite good: smooth and tangy, definitely not too sweet. There are no thickeners on the ingredient list, and it's sweetened with good old sugar. Actually, the ingredient list is pretty short: milk, cream, notfat milk, sugar, cocoa powder and four different cultures. There were a couple of flavors besides chocolate, but I don't remember what they were. Oops, just got to the bottom of mine and realized it needed to be stirred thoroughly, as there's a big band of chocolate at the bottom -- consider yourself warned!

    2. It's not quite French yogurt, but it's more like french yogurt than dannon is. Try YoBaby - especially the pear flavor. It's sweeter than I remember french yogurt being, but very tasty and it has a nice creamy mouthfeel.

      1. have you tried Emme swiss yogurt?

        i love the grapefruit flavor.

        1. I've become a devotee of Fage Greek yogurt, even though it is much more dense than the yogurt I had in Paris. I buy the plain stuff and add fruit to mine; this week it's rhubarb, an addition I first tried during a trip to Paris and became addicted to. Pears are also delicious, when they're in season. Most often, though, I have to buy unsweetened frozen fruit, such as wild blueberries, to add to my morning yogurt.

          1. Thanks for the recs. I didn't know Fage made flavored yogurts. I will give them a try! I've also never seen the Emme Swiss yogurt, but I'll hit some of the "upscale" grocery stores to see if I can find it. Ruth, the Italian yogurt at TJ's is excellent (try the Ginger & Cinnamon flavor), but I need some new options. I think I'll end up trying your jam suggestion.

            I'll keep an eye out for the YoBaby. One of my issues with most mass-market yogurts is that they add gelatin, which I avoid. The new Dannon Naturals has no gelatin, but it's unbearably sweet. Thanks for all the suggestions!

            1 Reply
            1. re: mmmmangos

              Yo Baby is made by Stonyfield Farms, and it's all organic. No gelatin, but I checked the ingredients and it does have pectin. Still I think Greek yogurt is fantastic but a different beast from French yogurt, and this is a bit more like French yogurt. It may be too sweet for your tastes, though they did recently reduce the amount of sugar.

            2. My faves these days are Liberte (I prefer the 2% plain, but the full fat comes in great flavors and the low fat six grains is great too, especially the PEAR) and Wallaby

              1 Reply
              1. er...in my original post, by "la Speza" I actually meant Spega yogurt in the little glass jars...sorry.

                1. It isn't an everyday indulgence but have you sampled the housemade apricot yogurt at Clementine. Really good with a slight honey flavor, loose texture, and rich apricot flavor.

                  1. My question is, why can't we make yogurts like the ones in Paris?
                    is it the milk?

                    3 Replies
                      1. re: Monica

                        I don't think it's that, I think it's just a stylistic difference -- most Americans like the firmer texture rather than the runnier European style. There are American yogurts in that style, like the Wallaby someone mentioned.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          I happen to be someone who much prefers the looser consistency over the thick style (eg, I don't care for Fage). My yogurt of choice is Straus whole milk. A bargain at Trader Joe's.

                      2. This is what I would do. Buy a good Persian or Greek yogurt from an ethnic food market. I would personally recommend Byblos brand. Mix in some of Bonne Maman fruit conserve (basically, a French jam, available in most major supermarkets). St. Dalfour also makes a good all-fruit jam. I have been mixing olallieberry jam from Linn's in Cambria into my plain yogurt lately. It's quite good, and you can control the portions.

                        http://www.linnsfruitbin.com/category/8

                        You can buy Byblos yogurt from any Persian market. If not, just go with Mountain High from the regular store.

                        Once, I saw a friend mix Nutella and fresh banana into plain yogurt. I never tried it, but it could be good.