So Skyr to us is what cheese is to you (at least if you’re European)! We have it for breakfast, lunch or afternoon snacks. It has been a part of the traditional Icelandic diet since the country was settled in the 9th century and is mentioned many times in the Icelandic sagas. It was known throughout the Nordic countries but eventually forgotten except in Iceland.
What is Skyr?
It’s made of pasteurized skimmed milk. It used to be much more like cheese than it is today. People bought it in blocks and had to mix it with milk and sugar to eat. We do not have to do that today. We buy it already mixed, with different tastes and sugar content.
It tastes a bit sour but with a hint of residual sweetness. It’s quite unique, but it resembles a greek yoghurt the most out of all dairy. Skyr is a very popular product in Iceland and is embraced by many athletes as it is so high in protein.
Traditionally Skyr is served with milk and sugar. Today, you can find a large variety of flavours at any grocery store. It is often used in fruit smoothies and desserts. It’s easy to grab at the store, not to mention that it is very cheap, or around 1 Euro apiece. The flavoured ones have added sugar, so the naturally flavoured Skyr is always the healthiest choice. You can always add some sugar and fruit yourself. At our home, we love to make a skyr fruit boozt with a dash of ginger.
Can You Get Skyr Abroad?
You can get Siggi’s Skyr in the US. The founder (who has since sold the business) established the company in 2006. It is probably as close as you will get to the Icelandic Skyr abroad if you can’t get your hands on actual Skyr.
Unless manufactured with help from Icelandic company MS, all other types will taste more like regular yoghurt than Skyr. No matter how hard they try to sell it to you as Skyr.
Lactose intolerant? No problem!
A few years ago a new milk product company opened, called Arna. For most, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but Icelanders have lived with somewhat of a milk monopoly since we remember. What makes Arna stand out, is that they only make milk products that are safe for (most) lactose intolerant people. This is great because now they get to enjoy the many amazing yoghurts and Skyr and just good ol’milk.
You will often find skyr-based desserts on the menu at restaurants, such as cheesecake and ice cream. Skyr cake is very popular among the locals, like cheesecake, except with Skyr. We will offer you a fantastic skyr dessert if you join our Reykjavik Food Lovers tour. One thing is for sure, you shouldn’t leave without trying!