Icelandic Skyr

On the last night of our road trip around Iceland last month, we stayed at a working farm called Eftstidalur. It’s a working dairy farm which in 2002 opened a restaurant and added overnight accommodations in response to a growth in tourism, according to their website.

At breakfast, there was a large bowl of something called “skyr.” A small placard  informed me that it was made fresh from cow’s milk produced there at the farm. Next to the bowl was a stack of small pancakes and a little pitcher of syrup. I took a pancake, added a dollop of skyr, and drizzled some syrup on top.

It was very tasty!

I texted my sister, who had happened to have been in Iceland about a month earlier, to ask her if she had had the opportunity to try it. She had seen skyr offered at breakfast, but had not sampled it. She did tell me, however, that it is available in the United States.

An aside here: Technically, skyr is a cheese, because rennet is used to make it. But because of its consistency and texture, which is more like sour cream, it is often called a yogurt. However, it is very mild in flavor, neither tart like yogurt nor sour like sour cream. It is higher in protein and lower in fat than yogurt, and also lactose-free.

After we returned home, I did an internet search to see where it might be available locally. I was pleased to see that it is stocked at several nearby grocery stores, including the one we usually shop at.

The most common brand, Siggi’s, offers plain and vanilla in 24-ounce tubs and a variety of flavored skyr in 5-ounce containers. The plain variety has now replaced vanilla yogurt in my breakfast granola.

It is also proving to be the avenue for my grandson to solid food.

Approaching eight months in age, he was not keen on the whole concept of spoons and baby food. So about a month ago, one Thursday afternoon while my daughter was over for a visit, I proposed that we try giving him some skyr, on the theory that he would find its mild flavor sufficiently inoffensive.

My daughter and I set ourselves in chairs across from each other, me holding the baby on my lap. We each had a few spoonfuls of skyr, expressing great delight, to demonstrate proper eating technique. When I first offered it to little Gage, he refused it, shaking his head from side to side. His mom suggested that I put a little dab on his lip. I did so, which allowed him to get a little taste.

In short order, not only was he opening his mouth to accept small spoonfuls, but he was even leaning forward! To say that his mother was thrilled is an understatement.





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