Icelandic Yogurt Further Devalues Iceland

Siggi’s Icelandic Style Skyr

Siggi’s Icelandic Style Skyr

I Paid: $2.99 for a 6-ounce container (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 2 stars

Marketing: 5 stars

My God, I wanted to like Siggi’s Skyr, an Icelandic-style nonfat yogurt available in upscale American grocery stores.

No, check that. I wanted to love it. To buy it by the truckload, give it to friends, praise it to the sky. Embrace it. Court it. Marry it in a small, tasteful ceremony by the ocean. You get the picture; it’s an eminently lovable product.

The label sports a classy serif font. The flavors include orange and ginger, blueberry, and pomegranate and passion fruit—sophisticated, but not hit-you-over-the-head trendy. (OK, there’s apparently an açaí flavor, too. But other than that …) And the stuff is both comprehensible and exotic. Here’s how the product’s website describes skyr: “Skyr is the traditional yogurt of Iceland. It is made by incubating skim milk with live active cultures. The whey, the water naturally found in milk, is then strained away to make for a much thicker, creamier, concentrated yogurt. ... Skyr comes out with 2-3 times the protein count of standard yogurt.”

Holy moly, that sounds great. Inspiring, delicious, protein-rich, exotic—and God knows, Iceland needs a win right now.

This stuff won’t do it, unfortunately. Skyr tastes like paste. Your spoon will stand straight up in it, and none of the charmingly tasteful flavors can make a dent in the product’s overwhelming aspect, which is the good old-fashioned taste of “sour.” Ten parts sour, ten parts stiff, one part some other briefly perceptible fruit flavor that’s quite nice when you can lock your brain onto it.

It’s entirely likely if you were born and raised in Iceland, Siggi’s Skyr (which isn’t cheap, incidentally) would be a delicious reconnection to one of your homeland’s most elusive gastronomic exports. But if you were born and raised in the U.S.—and ate Yoplait as a kid, for example—it’s going to kick your ass.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.