The other day I got a text from a friend, who had just experienced Greek yogurt for the very first time and found herself in instant dairy heaven. I shot a message back, telling her to give yak yogurt a try. What I really meant to say was water buffalo yogurt, but hey! It’s been awhile since I’d had the stuff, and really… what’s the difference? Oh right, yaks live in Tibet and water buffalo hang out in Africa. Whatever. That’s not the point.
The point is eating good yogurt.
Yogurt has been around for a very long time – over 5,000 years to be exact. Fabulous fermented goodness with the added punch of making all those little bacterial bugs in your belly do their job a wee bit more efficiently. Happily consumed by people the world over, yogurt is rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, and can even be tolerated by the mildly lactose-intolerant.
The most common form of yogurt found in the American grocery store is made from cow’s milk, sweetened with artificial sweeteners, and packed with gelatin for the illusion of thickness. Cherry, blueberry, vanilla, key lime, etc etc etc…. the list of flavor options goes on and on.
And while we’re discussing flavors, could someone please explain to me the purpose of chocolate yogurt with sprinkles? I mean, come on! Stop lying to yourself about how healthy you’re eating and just go buy a snickers bar already. Seriously.
But back to the water buffalo, those sexy beasts.
A few years ago, The Chef brought home a small container of regionally-made yogurt and said, “You have got to try this! It’s amazing!”
Years of experience and a healthy sense of adventure have taught me to eat first, ask questions later. Better to try something new and potentially fall in love with it, than waste time getting squeamish about what I’m about to stick in my gullet. So far (knock on wood) this attitude has served me well, and water buffalo yogurt was no exception.
I took a spoonful and was instantly blown away.
“Oh my god! Heaven! What is it?”
“Why does it taste so good?”
“It’s made from water buffalo milk.”
Instant confusion set in.
“But it’s from Vermont. Do water buffalo grow in Vermont? Wait… you can milk a buffalo?”
Despite being completely befuddled by the concept of water buffalo living in Vermont, I became so enamored with this yogurt I instantly ordered a case of the stuff and started doling it out to my friends like a curbside crack dealer. I’m happy to report they all fell in love with it as much as I did.
And apparently water buffalo do indeed grow in Vermont. Based in South Woodstock, a small company called Bufala di Vermont is home to the largest water buffalo milking herd and one of only three such dairies in the entire United States.
Please don’t ask me why a Vermont farm raising African water buffalo sells yogurt with an Italian name. I’m still trying to get over the visual of someone milking a buffalo.
Bufali di Vermont offers four flavors of yogurt to choose from; plain, raspberry, blueberry, and maple. Not only do they produce my all-time favorite yogurt, you can also get water buffalo mozzarella and a water buffalo steak from them if you so desire.
Unfortunately, if you don’t live on the East Coast you’re going to have a hard time finding the stuff. But then again, shouldn’t your food stay local anyway?