Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Sheep's Milk Yogurt

Yes, the YogBlog is back!

One-word verdict: Creamylicious!

The backstory: I've had the buffalogurt, I've had the goatgurt. Of course I've been wanting to try the sheepgurt. It's just so damn expensive...I finally picked up a cup this week on sale, and it was still the most expensive cup of yogurt I've ever bought!

Nutrition: Old Chatham informs you right on the cup that, although their sheepgurt is full-fat, it contains the "same calories or less than many low fat cow's milk yogurts." And this is true, mostly because this stuff appears to be naturally low in sugar and they don't add to. Per 6 ounces of the maple flavor, you get 160 calories, 11 grams sugar, and 5 grams saturated fat (eep). Also, it’s gluten-free.

Well, how is it? The yogurt is white and has a lovely, naturally creamy texture (thanks, no doubt, to the ample fat content). It's not quite as thin as European-style yogurt, but not also certainly not in the "sculptable" texture category like Fage or Woodstock yogurt.

The taste is mildly tangy with a hint of maple syrup--I thought it was delicious. Not too sweet at all, but perfectly palatable. Also, I couldn't really detect anything particularly "sheepy" about it, though I'm not sure what I should have been looking out for; suffice it to say that it is not as readily identifiable as an "alternative" yogurt as both goat-cheese-reminiscent goat yogurts I have tried.

Ronnybrook makes a maple-flavored cow's milk yogurt, and if you've tried that you may have some idea of what this sheepgurt was like, although I much preferred the sheepgurt--it was less sour and had a smoother texture.

Where's it made? Old Chatham, New York--a mere 138 miles from NYC.

Ingredient notes: Old Chatham has the ideal short ingredients list for a yogurt: Pasteurized Sheep's Milk, Pure Maple Syrup, and four yogurt cultures. That's it. No preservatives, thickeners, additional sweeteners...nada. Which is always wonderful.

Processing/Earth-/Animal-friendliness: The container is your standard #5 plastic with a foil lid. The cup makes the following claims: "All natural ingredients" (duh), and "Our farm is organically managed." Wanting to know more about what that second claim meant, I visited the company's website, which has a long list of health and nutrition claims for your reading pleasure, including the following: "There is nothing added: 100% pure sheep’s milk from healthy, nurtured animals grazing on the farm’s 600 organically managed pastures in Old Chatham, located in the agriculturally rich Hudson Valley of New York." They also state that the sheep are not given hormones or routine antibiotics and "are fed grain and grass grown on our farm’s 600 acres of organically managed fields and pastures."

So, not entirely grass-fed or probably even entirely organic, but overall it still sounds pretty good.

Price: And now, the product's downfall. The regular price at Whole Foods is a whopping $2.19 cents per 6-ounce cup! I got it on sale for $1.99 (which is the same price as a cup of Fage since WF increased it), but that still counts as the most I've ever paid for a single-serve yogurt. Sigh--I feel like for that price I could buy my own sheep. If anyone has noticed it at other outlets for cheaper, let me know, OK?

The bottom line: On the one hand, the lovely taste and texture, fact that it's locally manufactured, and the perfectly spare ingredients list makes me want to eat this yogurt every day. On the other hand, the pretty high level of saturated fat and crazy expensive price seems to ensure that this will only be an occasional treat for me. Alas. I'm still looking forward to trying the ginger flavor (yes, ginger yogurt!) when it's back in stock...


Old Chatham Sheephearding Company Sheep's Milk Yogurt, Maple:
taste: 5; texture: 3; sugar: 2; free of thickeners/preservatives: 2; naturally sweetened: 1; processing/earth-/animal-friendliness: 1

TOTAL = 14

Link: Old Chatham Sheephearding Company.

1 comment:

Sirje said...

I've tried the sheepgurt, but only the ginger flavor (at a market in Baltimore). It was not as ginger-y as I hoped, though I have a freakish love of REALLY strong ginger, so perhaps I'm not the best judge.

Also, I've become somewhat addicted to the brick-like thickness of the buffalogurt, which has put me off the thinner stuff a bit.

But all in all, the sheep yogurt was an interesting treat.