The Revival of Diary: How Artisans Are Giving Dairy a Second Life

The Revival of Old-Fashioned Yogurt: How Artisans Are Giving Dairy a Second Life

Who would have thought that old-fashioned cultured yogurt could make a comeback so rapidly? From old-fashioned yogurts to innovative dairy-based drinks, farmers and local artisans in the New York City area are producing some surprisingly healthy, highly nutritional products with unparalleled taste.

While dairy products were criticized for contributing significant amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat to the diet, dairy is still the primary source of Calcium in American diets and boasts many benefits, especially on bone health. As a result, the rise of dairy-free products in America was not so much a sign of our intolerance for the product as it reflects consumers’ quest for healthier, more nutritional and authentic products.

Convinced that consumers need to be provided with a better alternative to the commercial, highly allergic dairy foods that they find on the shelves, artisans have started to manufacture quality dairy products, using nothing but premium, local ingredients and focusing on the making process.

Simplicity and integrity are key. Jenny and Gino Ammirati for example, believed that consumers were interested in basic, local products that taste great, and embarked on a mission to do just that. They decided to bring the frozen yogurt craze back to its roots: yogurt, and focus on tradition rather than create another fad.

Based in hip artisan hub Brooklyn, their company, Culture An American Yogurt Company, manufactures old-fashioned, cultured yogurts made the traditional way. The milk they use is ‘sourced from local farms with healthy and happy cows, and therefore as fresh as you can get it as our yogurt doesn’t travel very far from where it is made,’ declares Gino Ammirati.

Rather than sweeten or alter the taste of the yogurt, Culture has developed a range of toppings, including an incredible Vermont Maple made from Vermont’s finest Maple syrup, pecans and brown sugar and the delicious pineapple goodness made from fresh pineapples, cardamom and vanilla.

By changing processes and focusing on dairy’s intrinsic properties, such as probiotics, calcium, or protein, the artisans at Culture are hoping to restore dairy’s respectability. ‘We know that there are positive benefits to dairy. The benefits of yogurt are well documented, and as more consumers focus on healthy foods and grow educated about benefits of yogurt, we believe that trend will continue for a very long time,’ said Gino Ammirati.

Other NYC-based artisans have experimented with dairy products to unlock its nutrients and vitamins to health-concerned consumers. The White Moustache produced a liquid-only, neon-clarity, natural hand strained yogurt that aims at becoming the next sports drink.

Loaded with protein, probiotics and calcium, this incredible dairy beverage is a convenient, natural way to help replenish the body with essential minerals and incorporates nothing but yogurt whey and natural flavors, like wildflower, ginger, honey or lime juice.

Aside from being good for you, it is incredibly flavorful and versatile: The White Moustache artisans recommend adding it to your smoothies and juices and even using it as brine before roasting for your chickens.

Quite an unexpected, creative use of one of the most traditional products, indeed.

Eva du Monteil is a culinary trained food and wine critic living in NYC. When she is not exploring the country in search for the next hidden gem, she enjoys eating, drinking and cooking in the company of her friends, chefs and fine purveyors of epicurean experiences. While she loves NYC, she believes some of the most exciting food and drink scenes at the moment include Portland, Los Angeles, Austin, Miami, and Philadelphia.

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