13 Jun2008

yoghurt3

We slept soundly the first night in Athens, but despite nearly 12 hours of snoozing, we all got up around 6:30 am on Day 2 of our trip, a little groggy, barely jet-lagged, but utterly famished. We had to wait until the hotel breakfast buffet (included with the room) opened at 7:30 am, but the wait was definitely worth it. One of the first guests to arrive at breakfast, we managed to get a table outdoors on the terrace, facing a small but elegant garden and gazebo surrounded by flowering shrubs and an incredibly lush patch of tarragon. Gardens are a rarity in this part of town, so sitting near a couple of palm trees was a nice treat. Add some cool weather in the upper 70’s and a bright, uniquely greek blue sky with an occasional cloud, and the setting was perfect. The buffet was pretty impressive for a European hotel, and there was a nice selection of hot and cold dishes. But the first thing most of us reached for was the huge bowl of utterly spectacular looking Greek yoghurt…

yoghurt1

For my first taste of this thick and creamy yoghurt, I added a teaspoon full of thick honey and a spoon full of strawberry preserves. The preserves came from a selection of jams and preserves that appeared to be made in-house. Chunky, irregularly cut marmalades, cherry preserves abundant with deep red/burgundy fruit, a nice consistency to both the strawberry and apricot preserves and more. I tasted just one spoon full of yoghurt with a touch of honey and I must have literally groaned. Yes, it was that good. Greek yoghurt differs from pre-packaged yoghurts in North America and elsewhere (including the Philippines) in that it typically has up to three times (3x!) more butterfat than its wimpy cousins. Made from both sheep’s milk (lower fat) and cow’s milk, the creamiest Greek yoghurts can have up to 10% butterfat. That’s why it is so creamy, so luscious, with just a touch of sourness, but really more like eating good unsweetened whipped cream.

yoghurt2

After a small bowl of yoghurt, I had a heaping plate full of scrambled eggs, sausages, ham and pan-fried potatoes with ketchup, of course. Several glasses of freshly squeezed greek orange juice (they had this machine that would continuously cut and squeeze oranges as required), a cup of hot tea and we were definitely on our way to being totally fortified for the day. But how could I resist two warm croissants, with sweet butter and more of the delicious strawberry preserves?

yoghurt4

And for “dessert”? Of course a bowl of incredibly ripe and luscious strawberries with more of that spectacular greek yoghurt. Yum. And we had 6 more days to explore everything the buffet had to offer… But one thing was absolutely consistent at breakfast during our entire stay in Athens… a bowl of delicious greek yoghurt. If you are curious, and want to make your own greek yoghurt, this link makes it sound easy. And here’s another trick you might try – take some good store bought plain yoghurt and stick it in some dense cacha or muslin and let it hang over the sink or a large bowl for a couple of hours to drain/extract some of the water content. The resulting yoghurt will be thicker and more similar to greek yoghurt, but still not as creamy and rich due to the difference in butterfat. Greek yoghurt is sublime. Also check out this concoction I once tried with homemade guava jelly and greek style yoghurt… now I know why the combination naturally felt so right!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. witsandnuts says:

    Woooow! I never ever liked any yogurt, but this one is so endearing. I hope there’s something like that here in Abu Dhabi.

    Jun 13, 2008 | 5:36 am

     
  2. eej says:

    My,oh my, with that breakfast alone you’ve reached (if not exceeded)your recommended daily allowance of carbs! I bet it was worth every lick ;)

    Can’t wait to hear more of your Grecian adventure.

    Jun 13, 2008 | 6:01 am

     
  3. TPS says:

    Everything looks so delicious!

    Jun 13, 2008 | 6:02 am

     
  4. Apicio says:

    That 10% BF Greek yogurt sounds almost like the crème fraîche that’s available in Europe particularly in France and Switzerland where it is also served for breakfast as a soaking medium for muslix. There is no looking back once you taste this cereal killer.

    Jun 13, 2008 | 7:18 am

     
  5. Liz says:

    Your breafast looks so good, yogurt and preserves, sausage and eggs, croissants, fresh squeezed orange juice,,,you cant for anything more. What’s the name of this place you’re staying? Who knows, maybe when I go to Athens, Ill check in at the same place!

    Jun 13, 2008 | 7:34 am

     
  6. Chris says:

    Does anybody know where to get crème fraîche in Manila?

    Jun 13, 2008 | 7:39 am

     
  7. lee says:

    hungry

    Jun 13, 2008 | 7:43 am

     
  8. MarketFan says:

    Greek style yogurt can also be made in the Easiyo yogurt maker. I get my supplies (powder form in sachets) from Super in HK or from stores in Singapore. I’m sure they’re not as good as the real thing in Greece but good enough for far-away Manila where there is no big yogurt tradition or culture (pardon the pun)

    Jun 13, 2008 | 7:43 am

     
  9. Myra P. says:

    Greek yogurt drizzled with honey and sprinkled with fresh pistachios… Greek yogurt spooned over granola…Greek yougurt with chopped dates and slivered almonds…. Greek yogurt in a fresh fruit parfait… Greek yogurt in tzaziki… Greek yogurt in frosting… Greek yogurt ice cream… Can you tell I like greek yogurt?

    Jun 13, 2008 | 7:50 am

     
  10. natie says:

    greek yogurt—hmmm–got to try that. 3x the butterfat!! will surely head to the greek-markets nearby. that’s what makes it so tasty..lots of butterfat. fat-free stuff taste just like that—fat-free.

    Jun 13, 2008 | 7:58 am

     
  11. P says:

    Hi Marketman!

    I always enjoy reading your blog, but I have a suggestion. I would really love to read a series of articles on the various traditional rice varieties of the Philippines.

    I’m not a marketer of native rice or anything. Actually, I work for a media outfit, and this suggestion comes out of an experience I had recently whiel shooting a story about the rice crisis in the Cordillera Region. In the town of Hingyon, Ifugao, our local host fed us a lunch of native pork adobo paired with their traditional rice. It’s called ‘tinawon’ and is still hand-planted and organically grown in rice terraces like the ones in Banaue.

    I must say, I was amazed by the taste, texture and aroma! I eat rice everyday here in Manila, but normally it’s only a bland accompaniment to my main dish. But the tinawon I tasted in Ifugao was delicious enough to be a main course on its own. I finished four servings, whereas I usually can barely finish one!

    Funny how we city-dwellers eat rice everyday but rarely pay it much attention. We don’t even realize that what we’ve gotten used to eating is an industrialized version of the staple. In reality, there are many varieties to sample savour and explore!

    Jun 13, 2008 | 8:29 am

     
  12. joey says:

    Aaaaah! Greek yogurt ranks as one of my top favorite things in the world! I could never get enough :)

    Rizal Dairy Farms makes a Greek style yogurt…not as creamy/thick or as rich as the real stuff, but still much better than “supermarket” yogurt!

    Jun 13, 2008 | 9:04 am

     
  13. AleXena says:

    Yogurt with 3x more butterfat! My arteries are rejoycing to your good news!:) This is almost like butter. For a while I thought you were describing butter not yogurt. And to think people say yogurt is healthy because it has a lesser fat content than its other dairy cousins. Guess Greeks don’t believe in such things.

    Too bad we don’t have any here in the country. The closer I probably got to eating “Greek” yogurt was at Mano’s in Tagaytay.

    Jun 13, 2008 | 9:12 am

     
  14. shalimar says:

    greek yogurt with honey nothing else but when the air freight arrives from Manila to Athens bearing Cebu mangoes then greek yoghurt with honey and slices of Cebu mangoes…
    Is it great?

    Jun 13, 2008 | 9:36 am

     
  15. Raneli says:

    Yummy and heavenly tasting Greek yoghurt…glad you enjoyed such delights. At the end of the day,its the quality of milk that produces such lovely velvety texture. Its one of those tasty things that you’ll never get tired of..and wish was just around the corner for you to simply purchase and consume.
    Alas, we are not in Greece:( Yet,hopeful in good things to come.

    Jun 13, 2008 | 11:23 am

     
  16. alicia says:

    Yey! The greek (and hopeully) turkish culinary posts begin! Ay, a good brekfast is the way to my heart too! This looks like it was worth every calorie, carbohydrate and gram of fat!
    They sell giant tubs of Lemnos greek yoghurt at S &R, probably very different from what you had but as close as we probably can buy here commercially. To the reader who was looking for creme fraiche, S &R sometimes sells small tubs in the freezer section. Its usually near the clotted cream. Either in a blue or brown container. I have also seen it at Terry’s selection, which also, incidentally, has fromage frais every so often.

    Jun 13, 2008 | 11:33 am

     
  17. Jacob's Mom says:

    Instead of kacha/muslin, you can also line a colander with coffee filter paper and drain over a bowl in the fridge. Works really well.

    Jun 13, 2008 | 12:17 pm

     
  18. Fabian says:

    Yoghurt. MMMM.

    Jun 13, 2008 | 12:54 pm

     
  19. Jerome says:

    Hi MM,

    What motivates you to visit Greece? I felt that Greeks were similar to Filipino people in terms of food culture, meaning it is like eating with the whole bunch of family relatives and enjoy that wonderful atmosphere, Italians too!

    Of course their food is so much better in terms of seafood prepation and presentation. It is always balanced with their meat and salads. Never been in Greece but I have few Greek friends around.

    Thanks,

    Jerome

    Jun 13, 2008 | 12:54 pm

     
  20. Marketman says:

    Jerome, you are correct, if Singaporeans are the Asian equivalent of the Swiss, I would buy the comparison that Pinoys are closer to the Italians and Greeks… As for the holiday destination, this year it was chosen by the Kid, who had just finished taking Ancient Greece and the Byzantium Empire in school and wanted to see the actual sites referred to. Learning is so much better when you can see and feel history rather than just reading about it. Of course, I was thrilled to go to either of these destinations as the food and markets are legendary as well! :) Jacob’s Mom, thanks for that tip, I should run out and buy coffee filter paper (I don’t drink coffee). alicia, the lemnos is not bad, we buy that too, but I am curious about making it myself. I always felt that making yoghurt in our temperature and humidity would kill me… but it could get as hot and humid in greece as well… as for the creme fraiche, you are right, it is carried at S&R as well. shalimar, YES, greek yoghurt, honey and mango, superb! Actually, I brought two packages of dried mango, just in case you managed to fly back to Greece when we were there! :) Alexena, they have greek style yoghurt at S&R. Shucks, I should have hoarded some as I suspect they might run out after this post…heeheehee. Joey, I can totally see how this would be a favorite. I wasn’t a HUGE fan of yoghurt when I was younger, but if I had tasted this stuff… ayayay! P, have you bothered to check the archives? I have a few posts on red rice, sticky rices, etc. from way back. You might want to check them out. Not to mention posts on palayok cooked adobo and other shortcut versions that would go well with the rice… with 1,700 posts in the archives, you may find several that would be of interest to you. Myra P., yup, I get it. I am dreaming up additional pairings as I type this… :) Marketfan, yikes, that reminds me, someone once gave us an Easiyo machine… I wonder if we still have it. Chris, creme fraiche at S&R sometimes. Liz, maybe I can do a post on the hotel. Apicio, it is similar to creme fraiche, but CF has EVEN MORE butterfat. I love that too.

    Jun 13, 2008 | 1:30 pm

     
  21. Mila says:

    I’ve loved yogurt for as long as I can remember, but am definitely a convert for thick creamy greek yogurt over the last few years. Drizzled with honey, with nuts, with fruit, with cereal, and I also used it to marinade some chicken recently (I used the Rizal Dairy greekstyle yogurt, thanks to Joey’s recommendation). Amazing how yogurt can make a piece of roast chicken taste so different and keep it moist and yummy.

    Jun 13, 2008 | 7:05 pm

     
  22. redge says:

    mila, i agree. i’ve tried marinading boneless chicken thighs with yoghurt to make japanese chicken karaage. it’s so moist and tender and tasty!

    Jun 13, 2008 | 8:49 pm

     
  23. michelle says:

    I love greek yogurt with honey. Speaking of which, in Finland, they have this yogurt which is absolutely delicious with fresh berries. What can I say? The yogurt selection in this part of the world is excellent.

    Jun 13, 2008 | 9:42 pm

     
  24. beng says:

    that’s what i buy here. the greek yogurt. i’m done eating the american yogurt. the greek is far more superior and i love eating it plain with all the tartness it has to offer. love it….just simple goodness and none of those articifial flavorings. I had some french yogurt too made of goats milk and very creamy too, softer than the greek’s consistency.

    Jun 14, 2008 | 2:19 am

     
  25. achtungbabe says:

    I used to buy greek yoghurt religiously from a small but well stocked greek deli in Sydney where they have a sizable greek population. Topped with fresh apricots, super ripe strawberries, blueberries or honey, sydneysiders would eat them as dessert or a snack while sprawled on the grass at their magnificent parks. Excellent way to end a meal as well!

    Jun 14, 2008 | 6:15 am

     
  26. linda says:

    This week I made pizza with roasted chicken,roasted pumpkin with onions,herbs from our garden,feta cheese,drizzle of evoo and served with dollops of greek yoghurt with fresh garlic and my family thought I bought it from a gourmet pizza shop.

    Jun 14, 2008 | 10:00 am

     
  27. shalimar says:

    shame really but my work is so fickle you never know whats next… thank you for the thought of dried mangoes

    Jun 14, 2008 | 10:16 am

     
  28. quiapo says:

    If you do decide to make yoghurt the traditonal way, I suggest your cast iron Le Creuset casseroles are ideal for retaining heat. The thickness appears to come from the concentration of milk solids, rather than butterfat richness (the creamiest, thickest yoghurts in Australia are 97% fat free) so if you use the milk powder method, adding extra milk powder will make it richer. The traditonal method uses a hay box to maintain the warm temperature, but I just wrap the cassrole in newspapers and place it in a cardboard box. You should see results in about 3 hours though I always leave it overnight. boiling the milk mixture for a while prior to inserting the culture will result in a smoother product. I use a dollop of yoghurt straight from the fridge, in case I have overestimated the heat, the culture will survive by the time the starter warms up in the milk.
    I have never used a commercial yoghurt maker, and I am sure they produce excellent results as well.
    I prefer my own yoghurt to any commercial brands available.
    I hope you atempt this as the process is very satisfying.

    Jun 14, 2008 | 1:01 pm

     
  29. Blaise says:

    I really love yoghurt, and it was from Joey’s article in Yummy magazine that I’ve read about Greek Yoghurt..

    I will go to Greece someday.. just to get a taste of that sublme yoghurt.. =)

    Jun 14, 2008 | 3:35 pm

     
  30. ze na says:

    Haven’t been to Greece but just came from Sagada where every resto/cafe has yoghurt. The one to try is Yoghurt House, of course. Very thick, creamy, just the right sweetness and tartness, loved it with banana and granola best. We ate it for dessert every single meal. I know it’s a butt-numbing bus ride distance, but still nearer and infinitely than Greece. =)

    Jun 17, 2008 | 1:17 am

     
  31. Marketman says:

    ze na, The Kid went to Sagada a few months ago and enjoyed it. She too reported the yoghurt from yoghurt house was really good. I have been to Sagada twice, but a long time ago… and yes, the trip is incredibly long…

    Jun 17, 2008 | 9:57 am

     
  32. alicia says:

    Just back from HK. They have FAGE yoghurt in City Super, Great and 360. Ate five tubs with honey because of this post!

    Jun 18, 2008 | 10:47 am

     
  33. Marketman says:

    alicia, thanks! I will get some the next time I hit those groceries! :)

    Jun 18, 2008 | 1:44 pm

     
  34. Booey says:

    Alicia, thanks, was wondering where to get FAGE in Asia… i was about to tell MM to try FAGE (fa-yeh), they even have one which has honey segregated in a nice little corner of the container… it comes in zero fat, 2% and regular but the 2% tastes as good as the regular, no change in consistency…on my last day in the US, i ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner… could it survive a trans-pacific and/or Asian flight kaya if you handcarry it?

    Jun 19, 2008 | 3:08 pm

     
  35. Rene Garcia says:

    Hi Marketman,

    I just want to ask where I can get yogurt starter in the Philippines? I’m here in Baguio.

    Thanks

    Aug 20, 2009 | 11:51 am

     
  36. Marketman says:

    Rene,

    Sorry, I would love to help, but I don’t know where to get yoghurt starter.

    MM

    Aug 20, 2009 | 2:21 pm

     
  37. Rene Garcia says:

    MM,

    Thanks for the quick reply. Anyway, I already found out where to get some.

    Regards,

    Rene

    Aug 20, 2009 | 4:23 pm

     
  38. aravis says:

    Hi Rene, where did you find yogurt starter? Is it in granule form? That’s what I’m looking for.
    I generally use Nestle yogurt as my starter since it’s most readily available and has live bacteria.

    Sep 16, 2009 | 1:19 pm

     
  39. Nancy says:

    I have been craving the Greek yogurt and honey that I had for breakfast every single morning when I was in Santorini, Rhodes, etc. I realize that I was also sitting outside and breathing in that wonderful sea air and spectacular views but, it was incredible. I’d pay dearly to have it shipped to my door in California! Sigh! Time to plan a trip back to Greece. Lived on Greek salads everyday as well! ;)

    May 3, 2010 | 4:28 pm

     
 

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