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Looking for Best Yogurt in the Bay Area

l
lrealml May 3, 2011 12:28 PM

I have been trying to eat yogurt more often for breakfast. I have been eating Straus's low-fat yogurt, but recently decided I wanted to try a Greek style yogurt. So because Fage gets a ton of hype on Chowhound, I decided to try it out, and I bought a tub of the 2%.
Ugh... this stuff is flavorless and chalky. There is no tang to it like there is with the Straus yogurt that I am used to.
I understand that apparently Fage's quality is not the same as it used to be, but there are still so many posters on Chowhound that swear by it... I thought if would be halfway decent. As it is, it is barely edible by my standards; although, I'm sure I can make it through the tub if I mix in some Straus yogurt, honey, and tons of strawberries.

So this brings me to my question... what is the best yogurt available in the bay area (Greek style or otherwise)? What yogurt should I try next (or should I just go back to Straus)? I am really looking for low-fat yogurt that I can afford to eat a few times a week, but we can discuss full fat and expensive options as well for curiosity's sake. We have a lot of local options that are not available elsewhere (like Straus), so I am posting here and not one of the other boards.

Thanks in Advance
Robin

  1. b
    bgbc May 3, 2011 01:48 PM

    Are you looking for Greek-style yogurt because of consistency? For thick yogurts, I like Chobani. The 0% is pretty OK, the full fat obviously better. I prefer it to Fage as it's sourer and less paste-y. I also like its high protein content; it leaves me satiated for a long time versus Strauss and other milkier yogurts.

    Voskos is good too. I haven't tried the plain, just the fruit, but they're less sweet than "regular" yoghurt.

    FWIW I find Siggi's (actually marketed as skyr, not yogurt but generally placed in the same section) horrific -- bland and grainy with a thick wallpaper paste texture. But the "Skyr" brand of skyr is pretty good. Creamy texture but light.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bgbc
      l
      lacerise May 5, 2011 03:15 PM

      I concur with bgbc; the high protein content yogurt (recommended to me by a nutritionist) keeps me satiated for many hours. I buy the highest protein content stuff I can find and that's been Voskos nonfat or Brown Cow greek style nonfat. A half cup of yogurt with fruit and walnuts or almonds is my go-to weekday breakfast. The fruit and nuts cut the pasty/chalkiness of this type of yogurt. When I want yogurt with a taste that I love I go for Pavel's organic lowfat or St. Benoit, but the latter is quite expensive.

    2. Windy May 3, 2011 02:11 PM

      The best yogurt I've had in this area is sheep's milk yogurt, but it's quite expensive. And any commercial yogurt has additives that result in horrible texture. I agree, yogurts have gotten worse recently.

      I recommend the Brown Cow yogurts (cream top on full fat and part-skim). They are private labeled at Trader Joe's and even full price are less than $1 each at Whole Foods. They have the advantage of being plain yogurt with separate fruit or sweeteners.

      Russian groceries often have a lot of less expensive and tart dairy products, as do Arab-owned markets. Head out to a place like New World on Geary & 22nd or Parkway Market on Taraval and 15th and try some of the options there.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Windy
        p
        pockyjunkie May 4, 2011 03:28 PM

        Brown Cow is private-labeled at TJ's? I had no idea. Thanks for the tip. Do you remember if they have maple (my favorite flavor)?

        I get them for $.99 tops at Lucky in Oakland.

        1. re: pockyjunkie
          Windy May 4, 2011 03:30 PM

          I think they do have maple--it's so good, as is cherry-vanilla. It's labeled "cream top" yogurt.

          1. re: Windy
            p
            pockyjunkie May 4, 2011 03:39 PM

            Ahh, I have definitely seen those in the case. Thanks!

      2. m
        mhuang May 3, 2011 03:33 PM

        I would recommend trying the Trader Joe's Greek yogurt next; I liked the whole fat much better than the 0%, but 2% is not bad either (but more watery and bitter than the whole fat).

        You can also try Saint Benoit French Yogurt; it's more milky than greek yogurt; it is however more expensive than most being that the little ceramic pots are recycleable/returnable.

        1. d
          dordogne May 3, 2011 03:50 PM

          First place in the Chronicle's Taster's Choice for plain Greek-style yoghurt went to Trader's Joe's by a comfortable margin; Fage was far down the list:

          http://imgs.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...

          1. a
            artemis May 3, 2011 06:52 PM

            Cooks Illustrated just did a taste-off of nonfat Greek Yogurt. The winner was Olympus (imported from Greece), followed by Voskos and Brown Cow Greek.

            1. k
              kc72 May 4, 2011 07:23 AM

              This was in the paper today

              http://www.mercurynews.com/food-wine-...

              1 Reply
              1. re: kc72
                l
                lrealml May 4, 2011 12:15 PM

                Wow... funny that this came out today...
                She seems to completely disagree with the chronicle and with me...
                I can't believe she loved Fage...

              2. m
                MargotB May 4, 2011 11:22 AM

                I've been eating Oikos yogurt - non-fat organic Greek daily for months now; it doesn't seem especially tart to me. Whole Foods Berkeley and Andronicos sell it. The only other organic Greek yogurt I know of is made by Voskos but haven't seen it lately, although I suspect that Trader Joe's organic Greek yogurt is made by them -- also good. Would love to try a 2% or full-fat organic Greek yogurt if it exists.

                I used to eat the Chobani non-fat Greek yogurt, but once I detected its chalkiness I couldn't go back (also, not organic). The peach flavor is pretty good, though.

                I think one of the ratings articles mentioned by other posters said you can distinguish real Greek yogurt from fake by the protein content. It should be twice that of regular yogurt; a 5.3 oz container of Oikos has 15 grams of protein, compared to regular yogurt's approx. 7 grams. Greek Gods has the same as regular yogurt (plus yes, it tastes pretty awful).

                1. l
                  lrealml May 4, 2011 12:09 PM

                  Thanks Everyone...
                  I was looking to try a Greek yogurt because it is supposed to have more protein and therefore be more filling, but I can always get the protein from other sources.
                  I really want low-fat and not full fat as my cholesterol is a bit high... that and I my spring/summer clothes are not fitting quite like they should :)

                  I think I will try Trader Joe's, Chobani, and Voskos (if I can find a low-fat version) next. I haven't seen the Olympus yogurt anywhere, but I will try it if I see it...
                  Also I do love the goat and sheep milk yogurts, but I can only find full fat... Any low-fat ones around?

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: lrealml
                    Windy May 4, 2011 03:22 PM

                    I thought goat's milk had less fat to start with...not sure though. The only sheep's milk yogurt I'm aware of is Bellweather Farms.

                    Have you tried quark? Spring Hill sells it at various farmer's markets, sometimes in a lemon flavor. It's lower in fat and delicious.

                    For filling, I grate carrots and apples into yogurt, and sometimes add TJ's lowfat muesli, which has lots of fiber. It's hard to find a granola that's not loaded with fat and sugar.

                    1. re: Windy
                      l
                      lrealml May 4, 2011 04:51 PM

                      Bellwether goat yogurt is great. Redwood Hill makes great goat yogurt to... but they still both have more fat then I want to have regularly for breakfast.

                      I love Spring Hills lemon quark! Especially with Strawberries... We buy it every time we see it at a market... but I had no idea that it was low in fat. I always though I was splurging when I eat it... it is so rich and decadent. Thanks for letting me know! I will eat try to eat it more often... I just wish Spring Hill was at more of the markets or at a grocery store (their Jersey butter is fantastic as well). Are there any other quark brands that are more readily available?

                      1. re: lrealml
                        Windy May 4, 2011 04:55 PM

                        Once in a while Whole Foods has quark, but nothing like a Swiss market. We should request it. I know someone, maybe WF, stocks Spring Hill cheese.

                        I'll do a little more research, to make sure it actually *is* lower in fat.

                        Oh, and it might be worth talking to the Fraiche people about the fat content of their regular yogurt. If you can resist the frozen version and all the toppings....not easy.

                        1. re: Windy
                          l
                          lrealml May 4, 2011 05:43 PM

                          I know that Bianchini's (San Carlos) and Rainbow both have Spring Hill cheese, but alas no Spring Hill quark or butter. Perhaps they don't make enough to sell it at grocery stores. I am not even sure at which markets I can reliably find them... I know they are at the Ferry Building and Palo Alto (the Saturday one) markets... I think they are also at the San Mateo market, but I am not sure. I am thinking of emailing them.
                          I did some research on quark, and you are right about it being really low fat. I've never really gone out of my way looking for quark (other than Spring Hill's)... now that I know this, I will seek it out.

                          I haven't tried Fraiche's yogurt or otherwise (although I've been their for blue bottle coffee) . They have their nutritional info on their website, and it looks good and healthy... even the frozen stuff... I probably should have went there Saturday instead of Humphry Slocombe (guilt).

                          1. re: lrealml
                            Windy May 4, 2011 07:13 PM

                            Spring Hill also sells at Alemany Saturdays.

                            The plain yogurt at Fraiche is wonderful. I haven't had as much luck with their coffee.

                            1. re: lrealml
                              ...tm... May 5, 2011 12:10 AM

                              It seems like you might be in the West Bay, but Spring Hill is at all the Berkeley markets (Tue, Thu, Sat), and apparently at the new Albany market on Wednesday. I agree, their quark and butter are delicious.

                              1. re: lrealml
                                a
                                artemis May 5, 2011 02:26 PM

                                Yes, Spring Hill quark is available at their stand at the Saturday farmer's market in San Mateo. They are there every week.

                                Fraiche's yogurt is *wonderful*

                              2. re: Windy
                                Caitlin McGrath May 6, 2011 10:47 AM

                                The Spring Hill folks say their quark is made from the whey from their cheesemaking, and it is quite low in fat. Unfortunately, they only sell it at farmers' markets, not in the stores that carry their cheese.

                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                  Windy May 6, 2011 09:40 PM

                                  Thanks Caitlin

                              3. re: lrealml
                                c
                                cmvan May 5, 2011 01:56 PM

                                Just a correction - Bellwether's yogurt is sheep milk.

                                For those who love their yogurt, new larger sizes of plain and vanilla should be out, and a spiced apple is coming any time now.

                            2. re: lrealml
                              ssfire May 4, 2011 05:50 PM

                              I recommend Whole Soy & Co yogurt, (cherry and blueberry flavors only: the other flavors are not so great). It's made using soy milk, and contains no saturated fat, which will keep down your cholesterol. In terms of flavor, it's basically a yogurt version of tangy taffy. Trader Joe's has a private-label version that is different and not nearly as good. I get it at Piazza's ($1.19 each), but it's also at Whole Foods. Compared to Greek style yogurt, it's more tangy and less "sour".

                              1. re: ssfire
                                a
                                artemis May 5, 2011 02:30 PM

                                ssfire, I also really like the lemon whole soy. I buy the big containers of vanilla Whole Soy and throw frozen slivered almonds in for breakfast. I agree that the TJ's soy yogurts are awful, but I do really like TJ's vanilla 0% greek yogurt.

                                I'm in love with the Green Valley lactose free and keffir yogurt as well, but I only seem to be able to find it them at Andronico's in Palo Alto.

                              2. re: lrealml
                                c
                                chemchef May 10, 2011 04:41 PM

                                Since I like both regular yogurt and "Greek" style yogurt, I usually buy regular (Straus or St. Benoit) and when I'm in the mood for "Greek" just strain some overnight in a coffee filter. It works like a charm, and then I don't have to buy two separate items.

                                This is also good for making tzatziki in the summer when cucumbers are in season, because it can be too watery if the yogurt isn't strained.

                              3. k
                                kc72 May 4, 2011 05:59 PM

                                This thread has me planning a trip to Grocery Outlet tomorrow morning. I've seen a few of these brands there for 2/$1 or 3/$1

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: kc72
                                  Melanie Wong May 10, 2011 12:09 PM

                                  Picked up nonfat Straus for $1.49/pt, sell by date of 5/15, at Grocery Outlet.

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                                    j
                                    Joel May 10, 2011 04:50 PM

                                    Nancy's Organic NF is approximately $6.50 for a 64-ounce size, but it is now on sale at the Bowl for quite a bit less (maybe for the whole month).
                                    It drains very nicely because the only thickener is skim milk powder, so it is also higher in protein than other NF yogurt. You can drain it, use the whey for soups etc,, and the resulting thick yogurt is somewhat Greek-style.
                                    The whey has a nice yellow fluorescence from the ribloflavin (which occurs naturally in milk).

                                2. Melanie Wong May 5, 2011 09:29 PM

                                  If you like the taste of Straus, you can just strain it overnight to drain off the liquid and make your own "Greek" style yogurt. Many believe that the organic yogurt sold by TJ's in the Bay Area is supplied by Straus, and even if it's not, it's equally good at a lower price.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                                    l
                                    lrealml May 6, 2011 01:01 AM

                                    Really! We normally by it at Whole Foods. Yet another reason to make a Trader Joe's run... Thanks.

                                    1. re: lrealml
                                      Caitlin McGrath May 6, 2011 10:50 AM

                                      The Organic European-Style yogurt at TJ's is definitely Straus, IMO, exactly same flavor and texture.

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