Saint Benoît - a Wonderful Local Product
The Creamiest Yoghurt Ever?
News Just in March 2006: An Update about St Benoit Yoghurt can be read here.
Until this month I was a Total Greek Yoghurt fanatic. I was particularly fond of the 0% fat version (only 80 calories a cup) and didn't feel comfortable whenever the supply in my fridge was dwindling. Yoghurt made in Greece, however, does not fit in with the Eat Local Challenge, so I determined to try and find a suitable local alternative.
French-run Saint Benoît, which I discovered at the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers' Market could not fit the model of eating local, sustainable food more perfectly:
"We hope to let our customers appreciate a simple locally produced food that embodies the qualities of the soil and ecology it comes from, as well as craftmanship involved in its making."
Saint Benoît celebrate 'terroir'. The yogurts are made in small batches on a farm in Bodega on the Sonoma coast. The creamy, jersey milk travels less than 2 miles from the farm to the kitchen, and is immediately turned into yogurt.
Saint Benoît support 'sustainability'. They use recyclable, returnable containers. I love this idea! The plain yoghurt costs a whopping $3.25 a pot, but when you return the pot you get $1.25 back. Suddenly, the yoghurt is cheaper than Total Greek Yoghurt. You also have a little smug feeling because you haven't thrown away any packaging. Saint Benoît also believe in cleaner transportation and use a Compressed Natural Gas vehicle for their yogurt business.
That a small, local company has built itself around such an admirable set of principals is heart-warming. The yoghurt tastes absolutely delicious too. How many other yoghurts have you tried that have a layer of yellow cream bits on the surface? I could almost pretend I am eating clotted cream. Maybe it's not 0% fat, but Saint Benoît is delicious all the same. I just eat half the amount a day, to keep the calories down. If you live in the Bay Area, check out stockists here.
PS. If you want to thicken your Saint Benoît yoghurt, so it is more like Greek Yoghurt, then just strain it overnight through a muslin cloth. Yoghurt is about 50% water so its volume will reduce by about a half if you take this step.