Friday, September 17, 2010

Yogurt Taste Off - 2010

I think it's pretty common for people who do a lot of international travel (or have lived in another country) to have a specific non-American food product they think is awesome.  And not available in the US.  Or, the US equivalent isn't as good as the other.

I don't mean dishes of food (because obviously you'll get the best paella in Spain, the best masaman in Thailand, the best spaghetti in Italy, etc.), I mean food products.  Some common ones I've heard:

-Cadbury chocolate in the UK (which is apparently more awesome than Cadbury chocolate in the US).
-Coca Light vs. Diet Coke.
-Rice pudding containers in Germany.

Stuff like that.  Well, not that I'm an "international traveller" by any means - but I do think I might have found my thing that I crave in the US but can't get.

Mexican plain yogurt.

I'm not the World's biggest yogurt fan.  I have some issues with the sometimes goopy texture & artificial sweetener.  But "plain" yogurt in mexico is fantastic!  It tastes to me like tart-flavored frozen yogurt - a little sweet, a little tart, a lot delicious.  But the texture - it's incredible - it's creamy, but really runny; almost as runny as milk.

So in the grocery store on Sunday, a day after returning from vacay, I decided to buy some vanilla yogurts to see if any match up.  "Vanilla" is really the closest thing we have to the Mex "plain" - but I'm determined to find one!

(I should say, too, this wasn't really a long-imagined taste test.  I didn't do any kind of research; the thought actually dawned on me at the grocery store, so I just chose three to try.)
From Left: 365 Everyday Value Fat Free Vanilla yogurt (this is Whole Foods' generic brand); Wallaby Organic Nonfat Vanilla Bean; and Stonyfield Farms Fat Free French Vanilla.

I'm going to give general thoughts, calorie counts, cost, and sugar count (because oh my goodness there's a lot of sugar in these things!).  Here we go - The Great Vanilla Yogurt Taste Off of 2010 (or at least the first one).

365 Everyday Value Brand
Cost: $0.58
Calories: 120
Sugar: 16 grams
Thoughts: Taste-wise, this was pretty good.  Not too sweet, not too vanilla-y.  It isn't anywhere near as good as the Mexican one.  But I will say, the texture was good.  Not too thick, not too goopy.  And this one definitely has the best stats - lowest calorie count, sugar count, and cost.  Win, win, win.

Wallaby Organic
Cost: $0.99
Calories: 140
Sugar: 22 grams
Thoughts: This was my favorite in terms of texture.  Hands down.  The texture was about equal to the Mexican one - it's reaaaaaally runny.  And while the flavor is not like the Mexican plain - I actually liked the vanilla bean (you can see little pieces of bean floating around) - it's the slightest bit smokey, in the way that vanilla bean can be.  This was probably my favorite.  Although, 99 cents for 6 oz of yogurt seems a little high, right?  As does 22 grams of sugar, right?

Stonyfield Farms
Cost: $0.99
Calories: 130
Sugar: 24 grams
Thoughts: Yuck!  I would imagine a lot of yogurt fans would really like the texture here - but I hated it.  It was really thick & creamy.  But not "thick & creamy" in the way a delicious Greek yogurt is - it was almost gelatinous-like.  The flavor was fine.  But I couldn't get past the texture.  I didn't finish the 6oz.  And 24 grams of sugar??  Come on.

So it's tough to say who the winner is here.  Maybe the 365 just because of the stats?  If Wallaby cost less it would win. 

I sort of like the idea of taste testing yogurt - I might continue!

Also - you might be thinking Greek yogurt could fill the desire for Mexican.  And my thoughts are this: the flavor is fairly close (but still a little too sour creamy, not the slight hint of sweetness) - but the texture is 100% different.  I like Greek yogurt fine, but I want to find a Mexican yogurt substitute.


katie said...

i had the same experience in italy. i have tasted about every yogurt on the market to find one that tastes like the plain yogurt in italy. from your descriptions, it sounds like we experienced the same yogurt awesomeness in the two different countries. i am yet to find one anywhere close to as good. it's depressing...i STILL dream about that yogurt 5 years later! let me know if you find one!

LB said...

I think Greek yogurt is totally different from what you said....don't settle!

And my favorite abroad food is Digestives :) Which you can actually get in some U.S. grocery stores. Exotic Fail.