1. Yogurt is yogurt, right? Not if you are a Viking! Looking in the dairy section of Whole Foods, I stumble across something new: skyr. What on earth is Viking food doing in a suburban grocery store, where people are more like to arrive in a Subaru covered in environmental bumper stickers than in a Norse long boat? An Icelandic expatriate in New York City named Siggi Hilmarson recovered a family recipe for traditional yogurt. Skyr has been eaten in Iceland since the 11th Century when it was brought by settlers from Norway. Bacteria cultures and rennet are added to skim milk that ferments as most yogurts do, but is strained of its whey to produce what is technically a fresh cheese. The result is a white, creamy and smooth dairy food that one can eat with a spoon. I had some for breakfast this morning. It was very neutral, but good with granola.
“Siggi’s Skyr” has found its way into 100 Whole Foods stores, including this one in Northern Virginia, after being produced in commercial quantities and introduced in several high end stores in New York, such as Dean and Deluca and Zabar’s. As it can be slightly sour or at least not particularly sweet, it is often served with jam, honey or fruit. However, innovative recipes to use skyr with tzatziki, sun-dried tomatoes and even avocados have produced a number of savory dips. If the Minnesota Vikings are ever in a super bowl and I’m hosting a party, I know I won’t be using sour cream in my dip that night.