Saint Benoit Yogurt

most overrated yogurt
Originally uploaded by c(h)ristine.

I always root for a yogurt to be great. Yogurt, at its best, is a heavenly creamy tangy rich concoction (did I use enough adjectives?). I’m talking about Greek FAGE yogurt (which even in its nonfat form tastes rich with the full nuances of milk flavors) and La Femiere yogurt from France.

I’ve seen Saint Benoit (or St Benoit) yogurt on the shelves here in the Bay Area, sold in crocks, an unusual packaging here in the U.S. Last year, they were sold plain, and with plum and honey flavors. I picked one up, and was so incredibly disappointed. I’ve mentioned the bland watery nature of this yogurt in a previous post on my other blog. The yogurt is drowning in water, and tastes much blander than anything coming out of Europe (or I dare say, out of Dannon). Is it the cows? Is it the milk out of the cows? What is going on? I couldn’t finish the crock.

I WANT this yogurt to be great–the idea of a rich and nuanced flavored LOCAL yogurt makes me positively giddy. In fact, this yogurt embraces much of my recent food philosophies. But this is not the yogurt that fulfills that fantasy for me, even though the Becks and Posh bloggers love it. I mean, it needs to pass my taste teset. I seem to be in the minority, because this is a highly rated yogurt with increasing popularity. But then again, lots of people prefer Land o’ Lakes butter over Plugra, too.

I returned to savoring my Greek FAGE and La Fermiere yogurts (I even dream about la fermiere yogurt, it is so good).

But when Becks & Posh raved about San Benoit’s lemon yogurt, I decided to give it one more try. Maybe it was a matter of flavor? (Though I saw the yogurt DROWNING in water on that lemon yogurt post, so I began to have my doubts).

I had very very high hopes. I love lemon yogurt. Le Fermiere makes a DELECTABLE citron yogurt–light, creamy with just the right amount of citron flavor. It is one of my favorite flavors. So when I opened the San Benoit lemon yogurt crock, my heart fell. The yogurt was drowning in water again, and when I dipped my spoon to taste, I encountered the same bland watery flavor and texture.

The lemon was at the bottom of the crock, so I dug my spoon down and mixed it up a bit. I have no idea what everyone is raving about–because the meyer lemon flavoring was overhwelmingly bitter–to the point that I thought i was eating not just zest, but PITH (the bitter white part of the lemon rind). I couldn’t get beyond two bites of this.

So I still dream of a wonderful LOCALLY made yogurt. I still hope.

Update: I went to the Made in France Warehouse Sale again last week–alas, we were too late to nab any La Fermiere citron yogurt, but there were some Mamie Nova citron yogurts. I nabbed a few. Thumbs up! Not quite as rich as La Fermiere’s citron yogurt, but more “lemon-y,” in my opinion. The little bits of lemon zest abound in Mamie Nova’s and it is sweet enough to satiate my sweet tooth. Though the hardcore yogurt lover in me misses the mild flavor of the yogurt itself.

7 responses to “Saint Benoit Yogurt

  1. I find the water only separates from the yogurt if you don’t eat it immediately after opening. That whey is very good for you! I understand why people don’t like this yogurt, and I am sorry you don’t. I think it is an acquired taste. The lemon is definitely bitter which I tried to convey in my post about it by mentioning that it reminded me of ‘bitter lemon’. I did also say it was ugly and messy and a strange combination of textures. Not exactly a hard sell 😉 But now i feel bad that you bought my spiel.

    I think La Fermiere is loaded with cream which is why it tastes, well, kind of like cream, and Danone? Does it contain artificial tickener like gelatino something?

    Benoit use jersey cows and well, they have the creamiest milk of oil. what can I say?

  2. hi sam–i so respect what you guys have to say on your blog! but i think i am so bought into the “european taste,” that this is just a new animal for me. oh please don’t feel bad at all! 🙂 you didn’t “mislead” me, but it was more of a “how can they like it so much, when i don’t like it at all?” and because i feel the overwhelming majority out there seems to LOVE Saint Benoit, i thought i would present a dissenting opinion. (though i stand firm that it is watery…even right at the opening of the package).

    what i do like is that you got me to try something new, and to try that something new again. and that is not a bad thing AT ALL.

  3. I really wish there was some way I could have access to some lemon yoghurt – I’d be desperate to try the lemon flavour but I just don’t think that the watery bits would be to my liking. I’m used to homemade and storebought yoghurts – both having been thin (non-fat) and thick (full fat, homemade versions) and I’d love to have just a little taste of the best yoghurts I used to have in France…

  4. you know these guys are french and i think they actually do make it the real french traditional way.

    I think the ‘real’ euro yoghurt you are fond of is actually more like the ‘mass produced’ euro yoghurt, not the artisinal type.

    Thanks for your email btw!


  5. I will confess to being another who wants to like St. Benoit and just doesn’t so much. I love what they are doing, their environmental policies (tasting spoons out of potato starch!), but I don’t like the cream-on-the-top mix of textures in the yogurt. I love lemons to distraction, so I tried the Meyer lemon when it came out early in the spring, but again the texture wasn’t to my liking. I like my yogurt consistency creamy and uniform.

    For a great local yogurt, my favorite is Strauss–thick, creamy, good for you and for the environment. I tried Fage after you mentioned it on your other blog, but Strauss is still my favorite. And I like supporting a local company doing good work (wish it could be St. Benoit). I do think the St. Benoit crocks are super cute.

    And for Eric, my favorite take on lemon yogurt these days is plain yogurt with a spoonful of lemon marmalade in it (I use the Meyer lemon and vanilla marmalade I was compulsively making in the spring). I think it’s really hard to get a lemon yogurt that doesn’t taste like fake lemon flavor. I’ve had a lot of bad lemon yogurts…

  6. I actually like Saint Benoit yogurt. However, I think the price point if rather high. As for the flavoring, well, I rarely buy flavored yogurts anymore – they’re just too sweet. Instead, I buy plain and mix it with fresh fruit.

  7. Hi Tea! Actually, your postings on the lemon and vanilla marmalade you were making was actually how I found your blog in the first place! 🙂

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