Friday, November 04, 2016

Noosa Yoghurt

Update Review

Noosa.  My favorite store brand yogurt, as I've reviewed before, because it is basically dessert.  While not all flavors are amazing, the salted caramel and lemon have long been my favorites.  But Noosa continues to introduce new flavors, and I continue to try them all, no matter how strange they sound.  This batch of flavors were all interesting, and the yogurt was still the same creamy, rich noosa I love, but, none of the new flavors did it for me.  I'm glad I've tried more, but, I'm going back to my old faves.  
“The crisp days of fall call for the smooth taste of noosa, with our own spin on traditional pumpkin pie. This seasonal noosa will carve out a place in your heart with the warm, rich spices in our pumpkin puree."

I was hoping that this would be like pumpkin pie.  With creamy noosa on top.  Creamy pumpkin pie.  Mmmm.

It ... wasn't.  Sure, the yogurt was standard creamy, rich noosa and I liked the yogurt itself.  But the pumpkin puree layer was ... just orange pudding?  It didn't taste like pumpkin, and it certainly didn't have the spices of pumpkin pie (not that it claimed to).  It was very bland.

Overall, the yogurt was fine, but, the pumpkin was a disappointment.
"Sometimes we like contrast, and other times we crave a single intensity. Smooth, creamy coconut mixed with smooth, creamy noosa yoghurt is perfect for those times. Every luxurious spoonful of real shredded coconut is yum in every way."

As always, the yogurt was creamy and rather decadent, but fairly plain (although sweet) on its own.  Unlike most other Noosa flavors with very visible fruit puree layers though, this one was almost entirely white.  Because, well, coconut.

The coconut layer was, as always, located on the bottom/side of the container, available for me to mix in as I desired.  It was a bit hard to find though, since the colors were so similar.  The coconut layer was a puree of sorts, made from coconut, coconut cream, sweetened condensed milk, and lots of sugar.  It was basically just tons of shredded coconut, in a thickish sweet sauce.  It reminded me of German chocolate cake filling, just, sans any chocolate.  It was quite sweet since it was considerably sweetened, which was just a bit odd with the coconut flavor.  It also didn't taste *that* coconuty, although it was clearly made of shredded coconut.  The texture of all the shredded coconut was a bit off putting.

Overall, this was ok, but, you certainly have to like shredded coconut and sweet.  I wanted to add cocoa powder, or chocolate sauce, or chocolate chips, or something and turn it into a German chocolate cake.
Bhakti Chai.
"Close your eyes and visualize your favorite spoon. Now, picture yourself digging into a creamy yoghurt blend of chai tea and masala spices from our favorite local chai company: Bhakti. There’s only one way to describe it. Namastasty."

Well, hmm.  This isn't a combination I would have thought of, or, honestly, picked out on the street.  But Ojan brought it to me to try out, as he knows I love trying new Noosa flavors.

It was ... interesting.  The yogurt was thick, rich, creamy, delightful Noosa yogurt as always.  And the chai?  Well ... it was kinda watery, sweet, spiced syrup that I don't entirely want with my yogurt.  Unlike most Noosa, there seemed to be some on top too, not just on the bottom as is standard.  I wonder if that is because it is more watery than other flavors, so it seeped up the sides?

Anyway, it was Chai, for sure.  And it was well spiced.  Just not really my thing.

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Blackberry Serrano.

"Rob (our co-founder) has a new favorite flavor: this one. Go ahead. Dip your spoon into our marionberry blackberry and serrano chili noosa. It’s sweet, then spicy, then creamy, then gone."

Ojan picked this one up for himself.  I didn't take a photo, as it was his yogurt.  But I did steal a bite.

It was too crazy for me not to review.  Blackberry.  Serrano.  Yes, chili pepper.  In yogurt.  The spice made it incredibly savory, even though the blackberry component was sweet.  It was spicy.  Serious kick.  So strange.  So very strange.

I don't like blackberry really, so, I didn't like this, but the serrano was beyond fascinating.  It made me really curious to try the other "Sweet Heat" flavors, like pineapple jalapeno or raspberry habanero ...

Original Review, June 2016

Let's talk about yoghurt.  Or yogurt.  Obviously, not a subject I've really reviewed before (except when mentioning it in hotel breakfast buffets or when chains like Starbucks or Pinkberry introduced new versions).  And to be honest, I'm not generally a yogurt eater ... unless it is froyo of course.

The fact that I'm not into yogurt isn't really consistent with what you'd expect, given my love of puddings, panna cotta, and other creamy, rich, dairy based desserts.  Which perhaps is the problem.  I always want yogurt to really be dessert.  And generally, it just falls short of that line.

Enter Noosa.  They sum it up pretty well: "We’re noosa, and we make yoghurt. But not just any yoghurt. Ours is thick and velvety. Sweet and tart."

It really is quite different from other yogurt.  The texture really is thicker, yet creamier, than other yogurt.  I'm not sure how they do it.  Besides the plain, all flavors have a compote you mix in.

Noosa was started by an Australian ex-pat who lives in Colorado.  In Australia, this sort of yogurt is common - a big container of rich, creamy, full fat, delicious yogurt, generally topped with something like passion fruit.  Every corner market has it.  Yogurt is big there.  So when the founder of Noosa moved to the US and couldn't find it, she decided to fix that.

Enter Noosa.  She puts the fruit compote on the bottom, but, besides that, it really does remind me of the yogurt in Australia.  The flavor variety is fairly extensive at this point, mostly fruit based, but, recently they have gotten a bit trendy with a pumpkin and salted caramel flavors.

Noosa is still yogurt, don't get me wrong, but, some flavors in particular are close enough to crossing into dessert territory that if you are looking for a guilt free tree it really might satisfy, particularly with a crumble of some sort sprinkled on top.

(For the record, there does exist yogurt that IS entirely like dessert.  You can find it at Tres restaurant at the SLS Hotel in Beverley Hills.  It is ... amazing.  Basically panna cotta, but made from Fage yogurt, whipped with vanilla bean, and with some more magic done to it.  If you ever find yourself in the area, seriously, make a beeline for it!)
Blueberry Yoghurt.
"Sure, you’ve tried blueberry yoghurt, but blueberry noosa is in a league of its own. Off-the-charts in yum, our best-selling flavor inspires cravings like no other with sweet, juicy blueberries hidden beneath our creamy yoghurt."

This was the first flavor I ever tried.

The yogurt was almost a cross between what I know as Greek yogurt and American yogurt.  It was clearly thicker than traditional yogurt, but creamier than Greek yogurt.  Australian style?

Anyway, I liked the fact that it was creamy and thick.  I certainly see why people love this yogurt, texture-wise.  But in terms of flavor, this variety didn't do it for me.  The base yogurt was pretty flavorless, which is fine, as you are supposed to mix in the blueberry.  The blueberry was a compote in the bottom that I could mix in as desired.  It wasn't too sweet, which I appreciated.  There seemed to be just the right amount of fruit vs yogurt, which I also appreciated.  There were whole little blueberries, also appreciated.

Everything about this spelt success, yet it didn't do it for me.  I clearly just needed to try another flavor, since, it was *almost* amazing.
Raspberry yoghurt.
"Raspberries picked at plump perfection are bonza all on their own, but taste even more yum when mixed with our luscious and velvety yoghurt. A little bit tart, a little bit sweet, and a whole lot delicious, raspberry noosa is a dazzling experience."

The next flavor I tried was raspberry, as Ojan said raspberry is one of his favorite yoghurt flavors.

Like the blueberry, the consistency of the yogurt was great, thicker than standard American yogurt, but creamier than most Greek.  Because it is full fat, it had a luxurious feel to it.

Again, like the blueberry, the raspberry came as a compote on the bottom.  I tried the yogurt plain at first and it was boring, I tried the compote plain and it was just sweet, but once I mixed it all together completely, a nice raspberry flavor came out.  Not quite as flavorful as I'd like, but I appreciated that it wasn't too sweet.  I didn't love the compote though, perhaps I just wasn't in the mood for raspberry flavor.

The mouthfeel is really where this yogurt it wins though.  It almost feels like you are eating a dessert.  Topped with fresh fruit and granola crumbles, it was even better.  I probably wouldn't get this flavor again, but I'm now convinced that I just need to find MY flavor!
Lemon Yoghurt.
"When life gave us lemons, we mixed them with our unique, velvety yoghurt. The smooth, silky, and perfectly tart lemon curd is a ray of sunshine at the bottom of every lemon noosa tub."

And the winner is ... lemon!

This shocked me, as I don't really like lemon flavored dessert-y things.  Lemon squeezed over salmon?  Yes.  Lemon has its place.  But in my desserts, for some reason, no!  Nothing disappoints me more than finding out that dessert is going to be a lemon cream pie or lemon bar.

So I didn't expect to like this at all.  At first glance, it was just like the others.  Creamy but thick base, lemon fruit puree on the bottom.  I tentatively tried the fruit puree, ready to recoil.  But instead ... I just dug back in.

It was tangy.  It was sweet.  If I thought the raspberry flavor was almost dessert, this one certainly was.  Even better with granola crumbles on top.

I could eat this for breakfast and feel like I was getting away with quite the treat.  Or eat it for dessert and feel like I was having such restraint.  I even think you could top it with whipped cream and it wouldn't be weird.  (I didn't get that experiment as it was gone, literally, in two seconds.)

Next time, I'm getting a bigger container.  And trust me, there WILL be a next time!
Strawberry Rhubarb.
"Strawberry whaaaa? We put our own spin on the classic flavor of sweet, succulent strawberries and added tangy, tart rhubarb. No matter what hemisphere you hail from, you can’t resist this tempting combo."

I feel like a broken record at this point.  The yogurt base was the same creamy yet thick consistency that I liked.  The fruit wasn't too sweet.

Is this my first choice of flavor? No.  But, like the raspberry and blueberry, it had all the right things going on, just, strawberry rhubarb isn't my flavor.
"The satiny tropical flavor of a sweet and tangy mango takes us back to those lazy days at Noosa beach. Enjoying it during a lounge in the sand has been known to enhance the yum-factor of the exotic fruit."

Like all the Noosa yogurts, the yogurt and fruit are separate, with a layer of the mango purée on the bottom, off to one side, so you can mix it in.  You can guess how I felt about the mango.  Still not for me.
Tart Cherry Noosa.
"Imagine a slice of tart cherry pie served with a side of creamy, lightly-sweetened yoghurt. "

Since I always think the lemon noosa tastes like dessert, this sounded promising.  Cherry pie ...

It didn't wow me.  As always, the yogurt was fairly creamy, and a great thick consistency.  The tart cherry was in the bottom, a compote with pieces of cherry in it, slightly tart.  It was fine, but, not one I'd go for again.  I wanted more cherry, and larger pieces of cherry.  Really, I guess I just wanted cherry pie.
Salted Caramel.
"Some things in life are too good to be true. Thankfully, the combination of salty, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth caramel and our thick, velvety yoghurt isn’t one of them."

And this ... this is what all my noosa dreams are made of.  When I saw this flavor, let's just say, I was excited.  I love the base noosa yogurt, but, most of the fruit compotes haven't *quite* don't it for me.  But salted caramel? Um, yes!

And, it delivered.  The same signature, thick, creamy noosa yogurt.  Decadent enough on its own.  But this time, instead of a fruit compote or puree, there is a caramel.  Sweet, flavorful.  For all the times I've thought that noosa yogurt was basically dessert ... this one really went a step further in that direction.

It wasn't as full fledged sweet or desserty as would actually satisfy me for dessert, but, for a mid-afternoon snack, it was truly delightful.  My favorite, although, the lemon remains a close second.
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