Why Icelandic yoghurt is the new Greek

Iceland is known for the Blue Lagoon and views of the Northern Lights, but we think their traditional yoghurt, skyr, is also worth a mention.

Pronounced "skeer", this yoghurt has been a diet staple for more than 1,000 years in Iceland, and is thought to have originated from the Vikings. 

So, what exactly is causing all the hype around skyr? It's got no preservatives, thickeners, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavours or colours.

As a brand new line of this yoghurt, siggi's, is now available in Woolworths stores around the country, we asked nutritionist Rosie Mansfield to bring us up to speed on all things skyr.

What is skyr?

"Skyr is a yoghurt made from cow’s milk that, traditionally, is made from the skim milk after the cream has been floated off to make butter," says Rosie. "Like milk, regular yoghurt is mostly water, but with skyr, that water is removed which concentrates the milk. One cup of siggi’s skyr requires two-and-a-half-times more milk than a regular cup of yoghurt."

Why is Icelandic skyr is the new Greek yoghurt?

"The Icelandic diet has been recently announced as one of the healthiest in the world and there is no doubt skyr is a major part of this rise to the top of the vitality charts. Skyr is basically Iceland's version of Greek yoghurt, but much thicker," says Rosie.



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What are the benefits of skyr?

"Like milk, regular yoghurt is mostly water, but with skyr, that water is removed which concentrates the milk. This traditional technique of using more than double the amount of milk needed for an average yoghurt means we get a far heftier nutrition punch with considerably more protein and calcium," says Rosie.

"It doesn’t stop there, as it also has a lot less sugar (up to 25 per cent less) than mainstream yoghurts and the plain variety only has four ingredients!"

How do you use skyr?

"The great thing about siggi’s skyr is that the flavours are made with real fruit and include passionfruit, raspberry, strawberry, mixed berry and mango," explains Rosie.

"I also love adding my own toppings (fresh berries, raw honey and oats) to the plain variety - this not only increases the nutritional profile but also tastes delicious. The plain flavour can also be a very versatile staple for the fridge that can be used as a healthier substitute for sour cream, mayonnaise or cream cheese in your favourite weekday recipes," she offers.

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