There was something in the New Yorker about Grecian yoghurt the other week. Specifically, about the Chiobani brand, which we’re told has been kicking Fage and other rivals’ bottoms quite comprehensively in the much–written-about Greek yoghurt wars.
How an immigrant from Turkey turned Greek yogurt into an American snack food.
It had some of the characteristics of a “puff piece”, and in fact elsewhere in the magazine was a full-page advertisement for Chiobani. The plot thickens! (Thickens, yes, much what like yoghurt does when it is strained in the Greek style.)
When I found myself in a shop a bit later, something made me notice the pots of Chiobani’s Greek yoghurt – I think they’re new to British shelves – and before I knew it I was ponying up all the money to buy one.
Unlike the plain Fage yoghurt you get here – which only someone entirely perverse, or Richard Wilson’s character in Tutti Frutti, would eat on its own, but which can be a creamy and refreshing companion to some fruit sold separately – Chiobani’s is all adulterated with fruit and sugar. I think mine involved blueberries, and sadly it was a bit too sweet.
One effect of this oversweetness is that it’s only really stomachable in small mouthfuls. Maybe that’s a good thing, because it discourages greediness – a small spoonful mixed into one’s morning muesli is quite enough, thank you. But the strong yoghurtiness of plain yoghurt has the same effect, even though stuffing one’s face with that has slightly less severe tooth-rotting consequences. It’s nice that the sugar is cane sugar, and the fruit is all genuine fruit, but Chiobani’s talk of “naturally sourced ingredients” smells a bit unsubstantial.
A more recent issue of the New Yorker has some blather about mozzarella. What can explain this sudden obsession with lactose? After being brainwashed once by the fancy magazine, and feeling the egg on my face, I won’t make the same mistake again.