Blog Post: The Search for Skyr
When I visited Iceland many years ago, I was thrilled by the amazing scenery–spouting geysers, raging waterfalls, black sand beaches. But of course, one of my fondest memories is of the food. At a charming restaurant in Reykjavik, Vi∂ Tjörnina (By the Pond), I enjoyed a thick, creamy dessert called skyr. Fast-forward to the present and I have now seen skyr products in the grocery store and know much more about fermentation, so I am curious. What is skyr, really? My search has led me to different definitions and a bit of confusion. When I read the ingredients on commercial skyr products, it appears to be a very thick strained yogurt, like Greek-style yogurt. But… Wikipedia tells me that skyr is a cultured dairy product similar to strained yogurt. Other sources call it a cheese curd product. A representative of one of the commercial products recently shared that skyr used to be a traditional cultured dairy product with its own unique culture, but that the art of making a true skyr culture in Iceland has been lost, and that skyr is now a yogurt product made by following a certain method of straining whey, rather than using a specific culture with bacteria indigenous to the island nation. I have researched the food history of my own ancestors, but my new quest is the food history of the Icelandic people. I feel sure that somewhere, in the remote areas of Iceland, there is someone making a traditional skyr culture who would be happy to share it with me, along with the extensive knowledge of local food.
More from the Cultures for Health Blog
Kids’ Kombucha Experiment
Blog Post: Cheesy, Sprouted Sourdough Rolls: Monkey Bread Style
Blog Post: Cultured Cream Puffs: Gluten-Free