At Neal's Yard Dairy, cheese is king. It's also queen, prince, duchess, and earl. If funky milk isn't your thing, don't even think of setting foot in this place. If it is your thing? Welcome home.
All that said, it would be a mistake to come here just for the cheese. I, for one, came for the yogurt. The selection was varied and so thoroughly appealing that rather than fussing over which one to buy, I bought them all.
Here's a run-down of the yogurts I tried, moving clockwise from the top left:
Kappacasein Dairy Yoghurt. A sea of whey floats atop this organic cow's milk yogurt, a pool visible through the translucent cap. When I open it, in fact, at least 10 percent (maybe more) of the container is whey. No matter. The yogurt itself is clean and funky, tart with a gorgeous ivory hue. Because it's such a wet product, the mouthfeel is extremely slippery, a sensation I actually quite adore. None of this stick-to-your-palate business, nothing coating the tongue. You eat it, it disappears, and you're left wanting more.
Wootton Organic Dairy Ewes Milk Yoghurt. This one is very white and opaque, without even a hint of whey. It sits squarely in the cup, content, obedient, and snug. The mouthfeel is amazing, smooth as marble with an intense creaminess. Tangy but not tart, it's unabashedly sheepy. Or ewey, I suppose.
Neal's Yard Creamery Greek Style Yoghurt. This one contains "cow's milk, double cream, skimmed milk powder, and live starters." It actually looks like set cream, the upper layer, the cap, a sheer yellow. Underneath, the yogurt is light, soft, and fluid, not thick like the Greek yogurts here in the U.S. And yet, I love everything about it -- its yogurty flavor, its kiss on my tongue. How is this Greek, though? I have no idea.
Hurdlebrook Guernsey Wholemilk Yoghurt in "Forest Fruits" and "Live and Lovely" Flavors. First of all, I'm smitten with the one-wordedness of wholemilk. It charms me almost as much as the "Forest Fruits" flavor, where strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, and redcurrants frolic in a conserve. Together, they yield a yogurt with a mauve, almost lavender color shot through with berry speckles. The "live and lovely" flavor is more subdued but no less winning. It's very yellow, very rich, and very, very smooth. Pourable and silky, it's made from A2 Geurnsey milk, and when it's gone, my spoon and I share a moment of quiet, dejected, ineffable loss.
|| Going to London? Visit Neal's Yard Dairy. ||
Words + photographs © Cheryl Sternman Rule