I first learned about skyr, the Icelandic strained yogurt, at 3 a.m. on the morning before I climbed Mt. Hvannadalshnjúkur (hereby referred to as Mt. H.), the tallest mountain in Iceland.
Climbing Mt. H. isn’t necessarily technical, but it does take around 11 hours, hence my early morning wake-up. As I shivered in the cool mountain air, gathering my backpack, spiky crampons, ice axe and numerous water bottles together, a mountain guide who would be leading the long hike handed me a cup of the most satisfying yogurt I’ve ever tasted.
“Breakfast,” he said.
This was before Greek yogurt had widely caught on in the United States—a time when most yogurt was thin, watery and often tinted with artificial colors. The yogurt I grew up with was either heavily sweetened with sugar or sweetened with chemically, artificial additives. With its high protein content, stick-to-your-spoon texture, sweetened-with-honey flavor and locally sourced milk, my first taste of skyr was deeply delicious and satiating. It was hours before I was hungry again—even while hiking up a glacial field.
Luckily, skyr is now readily available in the United States, with many brands offering organic options flavored with whole fruits. Here are a few of my favorite skyr varieties—seek them out in your local natural retail store in the refrigerated yogurt section.
Infused with strawberries and lingonberries—a berry commonly used in Nordic countries—Icelandic Provisions sources milk from dairy farmers in upstate New York. Icelandic Provisions is co-owned by the oldest and largest dairy farm cooperative in Iceland called MS Iceland Dairies.
The popular skyr brand Siggi's recently launched this new line that contains no added cane sugar. The snack is only sweetened with fruit, such as bright peach and mango chunks.
A USDA Organic skyr from Lifeway that contains live and active cultures, organic sugar and a fruity blend of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and more.
A whole-milk skyr from Smari that is USDA Organic certified. Inside you'll find mango, lemon juice and cane sugar for a sweet-tart flavor.
A thick, protein-packed drinkable and USDA Organic skyr. B'More sweetens this beverage just with organic strawberry and stevia for a healthier snack.