There’s an astonishing array of yogurts available in the UK now. You can buy low-fat. You can buy fat-free. You can buy Greek style, whatever that might mean. Greek style? Explain yourself, man. Turkish yogurt. There’s even an Icelandic yogurt these days. With a bit of application you might even be able to get your hands on some of that Sumatran yogurt that’s fermented in bamboo tubes, or that bloody terrible Indian dahi, which is sour yogurt. Maybe even Iranian yogurt.
Life’s a bit short for all this, so I don’t bother. I’m not sure why you’d bother either because, my urban warriors, here’s the bottom line. Yogurt is just milk that has gone off, sold in a plastic pot at an exorbitant price. Doesn’t matter where it came from, it’s milk that’s turned. And I sure as hell am not going anywhere near goats’ milk yogurt, since goats’ milk already tastes of even before it’s gone off.
Before I forget, you can also buy soya based yogurt. Not sure how they make this, because yogurt’s characteristic flavour is caused by fermentation of lactose into lactic acid. If you’re using soya milk because you have convinced yourself you’re lactose intolerant all well and good, if possibly misguided. I should warn you, though, that soya yogurt contains an impressive list of additives. (If the thought of alpha tocopherol spooks you, it’s the systematic name for vitamin E, so don’t run screaming from the shop.) There’s a miniscule amount of soya, an even smaller quantity of almonds, and a vanishingly small quantity of lactobacilli. I wonder what they get to work on in the absence of lactose? Just asking.
I find it difficult to get worked up about yogurt, so I have no grasp of why there need to be so many variants. Yes, I’ll admit I can’t imagine papadoms without the yogurt based raita, and I have a quiet regard for tsatsiki. At that point my interest wanes markedly.
Another disturbing thing is that quark, the loathable mainstay of 1990s television cooking programmes, is making an unwelcome comeback. The resurgence of interest seems to be because it’s low fat, but I feel that’s all it has going for it. It’s like a cross between yogurt and cottage cheese, and that’s not exactly going to make anybody think that’s an attractive prospect, is it?
Bear in mind that when quark was at the top of its game, so was mouli. Whoever eats that now? You got it in one. Nobody.