Friday, October 07, 2005

The yogurt wars: Vol. 2

It is a good morning. After a shaky first week in obedience class*, in which Gracie half-strangled herself on the lead, towed me around in circles, scrabbled her feet like Fred Flintstone for an hour straight, and peed in the middle of the floor, last night she made me so proud you'd think she had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

We spent all day wearing her out so she'd be mellow. She fetched, wrestled, paced in circles, etc. Then I gave her a Happy Traveler (which doesn't seem to have any effect on her, FWIW) and took her to town a half-hour early so she could greet all the other dogs as they arrived. I got myself a coffee with cinnamon and cultivated an air of quiet benevolence. But what really helped was that the trainer had thoughtfully brought an Ace bandage and did a "hug wrap" on her. It's a tactic along the lines of swaddling clothes for a baby or a squeeze chute for a cow; it does something comforting on a deep neurological level. Apparently therapists do something similar with autistic children. At any rate, the difference in behavior was startling. The wrap seemed to drastically reduce Gracie's not-inconsiderable anxiety, and she was so well-behaved that the trainer used us as an example!

Gracie and I stopped at the liquor store on the way home so I could get a bottle of Calvados. It's apple season. I need it for cooking. "Sure you do," you say, winking ironically, but at this very moment I have a panful of butter-sauteed apple slices soaking in a quarter-cup of that Calvados. Apple clafoutis for brunch!

But before I forget, I need to deal with the business at hand: Four more yogurt taste tests, submitted for your consideration.

Stonyfield Farm
fat-free strawberry

(not pictured)

Very good yogurt as always, but really, really awful fruit. The strawberries are greyish-pink, bland, and canned-tasting. Bad aftertaste. I have a hard time imagining how this made it through product testing. Overall a regrettable purchase.
Cairo didn’t even like it. Not much, anyway.

Redwood Hill Farm Goat Milk Yogurt
vanilla flavor

This is good, but not nearly as good as the Redwood Hill blueberry flavor. It is sweetened with maple syrup rather than honey, so it has a pronounced maple-caramel flavor rather than a pure vanilla taste. That seems like an odd choice to me--why not just call it maple? Also, I noticed a greasy film on the spoon, similar to (although not as pronounced as) the fatty texture of the Brown Cow Cream Top maple flavor. Maybe maple syrup has some kind of de-emulsifying effect on yogurt.
I am now a confirmed fan of goat milk yogurt. But whereas I’d buy the blueberry flavor again in a heartbeat, I don’t think I’d seek this flavor out.
Cairo really seems to like maple, and he loves goat milk, too, so obviously this yogurt was a dream come true for him.

Stonyfield Farm
whole milk vanilla truffle

I tried this on Maggie’s recommendation. I wouldn’t have even been able to find it on the shelf if it weren’t for the picture on the cup, which depicts chunks of chocolate and a vanilla flower. Since when do you call a chocolate-flavored yogurt “vanilla truffle”?
Well. I must say this is a very impressive yogurt. It has a cream top with a minimum of greasiness and a maximum of creaminess. There is almost too much gooey chocolate on the bottom for the amount of yogurt in the cup (as if that were possible). It is glorious, glorious stuff, and I feel very guilty having eaten it for breakfast. It occurs to me that it would go well with sliced banana. I will definitely buy it again.
Only two negatives:
(1) It looked kind of gross when I opened it, due to watery “migration” of some of the chocolate from the bottom, and
(2) I couldn’t share it with Cairo because it is chocolate.

Wallaby Creamy Australian Style Organic
lowfat lemon

Apparently “Australian Style” means “soupy and mild.” I like it a lot for its fresh lemony flavor. In fact, the more I ate of it, the more I liked it. There are little teeny pieces of lemon zest in it, which are comforting in a natural-foods way but a little odd texture-wise, almost grainy.
Cairo loooooooved this. Three paws up.


* Some of you may note that it has actually been several weeks since classes began. The first week we didn't bring our dogs, and then the third week the trainer had to be in New York for a dog show. So this was actually the de facto second class for the dogs.