Monday, June 9, 2008
st. benoît yogurt
Really, I'm not sure what the hype is all about. I've read so much praise and fanfare about St. Benoît yogurt that I just simply had to try a pot of this liquid gold. It tasted fresh and definitely better, than say a tub of Dannon, but I didn't fall out of my seat either with waves of satisfaction. Perhaps I had built it up a bit too much.
St. Benoît is a completely natural, farm-fresh yogurt that's available in the SF Bay area. The yogurt is made using only 100% Jersey cow's milk, with no added thickeners, stabilizers, preservatives or sweeteners. I would have to say what makes this yogurt such a novelty is the ultra cool glazed, ceramic pots they come packaged in. Makes you kind of feel like you're eating a batch of your granny's homemade yogurt at her farmhouse table. The purpose behind these pots is manifold. First, they are reusable. Like glass milk jars with milk, the taste of the yogurt is better preserved, and thus tastes better. They also encourage customers to bring them back and maybe take home some more. Repeat customers are a good thing. And no one can deny that these jars are like, totally cute. Omigod.
Next order of business, cost. I purchased a pot of St. Benoît from Whole Foods for $2.79, plus an additional $1.50 for the jar deposit. I'm not certain what the cost would be at the farmer's market, but I suspect it to be less, since you'd be buying straight from St. Benoît. For about 7 ounces of yogurt, comparably speaking, you are paying more here than for any of the other cow's milk yogurt brands off the shelf, such as Stonyfield, Liberté, or Brown Cow. But for the kind of customer who is purchasing St. Benoit over these other brands, priorities are probably of a different kind; someone who is enthusiastic of supporting local, sustainable farms and families and who is environmentally friendly.
With all this in mind, I was really hoping for a home run in the taste department. I had visions of lustrously smooth consistency, with a thick cream top, and notes of tangy sweet honey. After poking through a minuscule layer of cream, I found my spoon to be swimming in a pool of very watery yogurt. The top half of the yogurt was smooth, but I noticed and tasted small clumps near the bottom, the whey. (Which I suppose gives it a nice rustic charm, if you're into that.) The Marshall's Farm honey used to sweeten the yogurt was barely perceptible, even at the bottom, which was a great disappointment. However, I did finish the whole pot, so there must have been some redeeming taste qualities. It had a great tanginess that grew on me. It also tasted really fresh. And, I felt like I was doing my body a service by eating something this natural and healthy. Even the healthiest yogurts at Whole Foods that say "All Natural" still have ingredients like pectin and "natural flavors" listed. In my pot of St. Benoît, I had 3 ingredients and 3 only: Jersey milk, bacterial cultures, and local honey.
Though I wasn't wowed, I will certainly keeping purchasing St. Benoît on a consistent basis. I believe in supporting local producers, and keeping the environment clean of plastic yogurt container build-up. Next time, I'll have to try one of the fruit flavored ones- strawberry, plum, or Meyer lemon.