Ever since the first time Sean mentioned skyr to me, who knows how many years ago, I’ve wanted to give it a try. I finally got the chance recently when I took a trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan with my mother, and we stopped at Whole Foods. While I was living in Savannah, I heard about the brand Siggi’s. The health food store in Savannah was supposed to carry it, but I was unable to find it while there.
As such, I was pretty excited to give it a try finally. In addition to Siggi’s, which is manufactured in New York, I was able to pick up some of the Icelandic-made Skyr.is, providing Sean and I with the opportunity to try two different brands. It was quite exciting. I picked up one of each, both in the vanilla flavour, as neither of those were about to expire, and I wasn’t sure a the time when I would next be seeing Sean.
For those unaware, skyr is a soft cheese, similar to yogurt in its consistency. It is a tasty Icelandic food, and has been a staple of Icelandic cuisine for quite some time. It provided the impoverished Icelanders of yore with a healthy, renewable source of protein when meat was scarce. It is also considered the only thing that can make hákarl (rotten shark meat) even remotely palatable. Personally, just forgo the hákarl and just eat the skyr… Anyway, to learn more about skyr, check out the Wikipedia page.
Anyway, Sean and I cracked these bad boys open for our lunch one lovely Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago. We dug into the Skyr.is first, palettes ready for an adventure.
We found Skyr.is to be very creamy, and were quite fond of the texture. The texture and taste resembled that of a very soft cheese, so we felt like the name of skyr was well-represented. It had just the perfect amount of sugar, making it delightfully sweet without being overbearingly so, and was pretty dreamy overall to eat.
Our second bite was that of Siggi’s, and was quite a shocking contrast. Siggi’s claims on its packaging that it’s Icelandic style skyr, but also strained non-fat yogurt, and we could see why. Unlike Skyr.is, it didn’t really taste anything like cheese and was instead quite sour. It definitely tasted like yogurt bordering somewhat on sour cream, and had a more yogurty texture.
Skyr.is won the initial taste test hands down on what we preferred to eat, so I declared that we’d finish Siggi’s first, and then savour the remaining Skyr.is. Honestly, though, Siggi’s started out alright. It tasted like a sort of yogurt with a sour twist, but that yogurt taste became more and more overwhelmed by the building sourness. At the bottom of the container, it basically felt like we were eating sour cream straight from the tub. Not a preferred taste for us.
Overall, we had our clear preference, but that doesn’t mean not to give Siggi’s a chance yourselves. It might be the winner if you’re not a huge fan of sweet things. I’d honestly give it another shot if I tried another flavour, because maybe the vanilla just wasn’t the best. (Helloooo grapefruit, why you’re looking mighty pretty today…) Other flavours offered by Siggi’s in addition to vanilla include blueberry, orange and ginger, grapefruit, and flavours I didn’t see at Whole Food such as açai, plain, and POMEGRANATE AND PASSION FRUIT. Holy crap, I would tap that in an instant. (Even more so than grapefruit.) Meanwhile, Skyr.is comes in other fascinating flavours of blueberry, strawberry, and plain. And I assume other more diverse flavours on the other side of the pond.
Of course, Siggi’s could have some interesting culinary application if dolloped on top of certain dishes. I’m seeing something a little smokey, a little spicy. Cumin and curry comes to Sean’s mind. Some Mediterranean or Indian cuisine, maybe? However, it was much less appealing to eat on its own. As far as traditional uses of skyr are concerned, it just didn’t seem to fit. It just didn’t feel like the “real stuff.”
When Sean and I are in Iceland in October, we’re totally going to be eating lots of skyr.
Skyr.is: 5 out of 5 njoms
Siggi’s: 1 out of 5 njoms
(Note: we have written this skyr product review of our own volition.)