A healthy diet and lifestyle has been a major trend in American culture, particularly in the last decade. With positive and negative buzz words like gluten free, organic, preservatives, and high-fructose-corn-syrup, the food and marketing industries have had their work cut out for them in order to keep up. While there are a great many sides to take in these matters, and a whole lot of argument to be had over what is critical and what is exaggerated, I think there is no denying that some foods have really stepped into the spotlight, for the better, while others have been seriously demoted.
Yogurt consumption has changed dramatically in recent years. A decade ago I think you would have been hard pressed to find Greek yogurt at a grocery store and now it’s the most common variety on the shelves. Whether it’s Greek (strained) or regular (unstrained) yogurt, low-fat or full-fat, the enthusiasm for yogurt flavors seems to have gained attention because it is such a healthy alternative to so many other snacks. Between the cute little jars/containers, and choosing whether the fruit is on the side, bottom or mixed in, it really can be overwhelming to decide which brand of yogurt you should choose.
As someone who really enjoys yogurt, I have found myself growing passionately loyal to one yogurt brand that knows how to make a slam-dunk flavor every time: an Australian sourced “yoghurt” with the quirky name of Noosa. It is a generous, tub-full of yum. Made in small batches, with whole milk, honey, and cane sugar, you really only need to taste one spoonful to know that this company takes pride in the quality of their product. For Noosa, yogurt isn’t just a trending health food, it’s a craft. Every flavor is truly impressive and I admit, it has become a bit of an exciting game to spot new flavors at certain times of year or in select locations.
Noosa is currently cranking out 18 awesome flavors (one of which is only available in Colorado), and some of my favorites are Key Lime, Blueberry, Tart Cherry, and Blood Orange. Recently the folks at Noosa sent me a box of yogurt to sample and while I had already tried most of the flavors they sent, there were a few surprises in there for me. My mind is still being blown by the craziness of the Colorado-exclusive flavor Blackberry Serrano. Say what??? Yes. When they describe this as “sweet heat” they are not joking about the heat. It has got some for realz kick. I don’t think I’m going to be ordering any shipments from Colorado, but the fact that they are crazy enough to make a flavor like this and make it well, deserves major kudos. *UPDATE* Blackberry Serrano is now available everywhere.
The other flavor I got to try, which I probably never would have purchased voluntarily, is Salted Caramel. Not because I don’t like the flavor of salted caramel. Oh I do. But for me, every time a yogurt company has tried to sell the whole “dessert-flavored-yogurt in place of dessert” thing, I’ve scoffed, tasted in doubt, and satisfied in my rightness, held to the fact that yogurt will never taste good enough to replace dessert. Never, that is, until I tasted Noosa’s Salted Caramel. I peeled back that lid with the same smug, doubting look on my face but one bite after mixing together the sweet creamy yogurt with the ribbons of salted caramel, I knew I couldn’t deny it. I scraped the smear of yogurt off of the inside of the peel-back lid to reveal the words “game changer” and I didn’t even argue. I happily came home the next day and actually ate a 4 oz tub of salted caramel yogurt instead of half a pint of ice cream, and I didn’t feel like I was sacrificing, or making “the better choice.” It was totally indulgent. We may be talking about full-fat, whole milk yogurt, and not 0% Greek yogurt, so of course it’s higher in fat, but this is still an awesome probiotic and protein-filled choice that beats out so many less healthy alternatives!
I compared 4 oz of Noosa salted caramel to a 1/2 cup serving of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Ice Cream and Noosa had less than half the calories and fat of Ben and Jerry’s and 6 grams less sugar. For someone who has an undeniable sweet tooth and a high standard for flavor, not just any diet food or healthy alternative to dessert is gonna fly, but Noosa Salted Caramel Yoghurt is so good, you can’t even consider it a compromise.
Noosa coconut is now my favorite flavor. It’s pure dessert, and understandably so, as the secret ingredient is sweetened condensed milk!
In a tie for 2nd place: Apple & Pumpkin, which both taste like Thanksgiving desserts.