The dairy-free yogurt market just keeps expanding, but it is not yet showing signs of saturation. Each new product seems to fill an important niche: creamier, lower in fact, multiple food-allergy friendly, and now … gourmet. Yes, vegans and casein-free consumers are no longer limited to plain vanilla, strawberry, and other standard offerings … they can have Nu Lait. These creative new yogurt blends know no bounds and boast flavor combinations that one might expect in a world-renowned restaurant.
I was honored to sample five of these flavors and they definitely did impress. Four of the flavors were made with a coconut-based yogurt, and one actually had a nut base (a first for this taste-tester). All came in a very unique package, with the yogurt on one side, and the flavor add-ins on the other, waiting to be mixed in.
While I did like the fun packaging, it did create some challenges. The section that held the fruit base narrowed toward the bottom, and my spoon couldn’t fit to reach that last bit at the bottom. Also … as if this is a problem … there was too much. When I added the flavor side to the yogurt side, I had to stir gently lest I risk overflow and loss of some of the yogurt. But onto the important stuff, how did they taste?
Flavor 24 – Cranberry Pistache (cranberries w/ pistachios and orange zest) – This was the one flavor I sampled with an almond base. Overall, it was definitely my favorite, and I hope to find it on my local store’s shelves soon! The yogurt on its own had a very slight roasted / coffee-like flavor with a wonderfully smooth texture and a pleasing almond color. When combined with the fruit mixture, the yogurt was just a wee bit bitter from the natural taste of the nuts, sweet, but not too sweet, and it had a unique, yet surprisingly addictive taste. I loved the varying sweet and sour notes of the dried cranberries, and the occasional potent dose of cardamom. The flavors were very grown-up, and a delight to my taste buds first thing in the morning. I did prefer this one for breakfast, as it was rich in healthy fats, had a good dose of protein, and some sugars to get me moving, yet the flavors weren’t too overpowering for my early morning taste buds. Though higher in fat and calories than your average yogurt (15g fat, 280 calories) I lasted a full 3 hours without another bite … so it actually ended up being a rather calorie-conscious breakfast.
I fell in love with the creative and delightful tastes of these yogurts, but the texture of the coconut-based yogurt needs just a wee bit of tweaking in my opinion. It was the perfect consistency, but the texture was just a touch grainy (Note: with some of the flavors this became virtually unnoticable once the mix-ins were added). Also, rather than that traditional yogurt tang, these yogurts were actually effervescent. That mineral water-like sparkle kissed these yogurts for a bit of a bite that was quite different. When combined with the flavors, the effervescence actually tended to work in the yogurt’s favor, but when tasted alone, I found it a bit too strong. That said, the gourmet flavors could easily win over any dairy-free yogurt connoisseur …
Flavor 03 – Chocolat Rouge (sour cherries with dark chocolate and sea salt) – After reading the name, the flavor caught me by surprise. The cherries possessed not the least bit of sour, they were quite sweet in fact and the dark chocolate reminded me of the beloved chocolate syrup of my youth, without any notes of bitterness. That said, I was pleased with the surprise as the sweeter flavor beautifully contrasted the effervescent base. Nonetheless, this was still a healthy treat, not an overly sweet dessert. If you are into chocolate in the morning, then you will likely enjoy this combination that includes sizable chunks of real cherries. For myself, it was a nice afternoon snack for a mid-day boost.
Flavor 32 – L’Agave Abricot (apricots and mango w/ lemongrass) – The mildly tart dried apricots and sweet mango flavor were heavenly in this yogurt, but the more delicate lemongrass tended to be masked by the strong effervescence. Overall, it was a medley of pleasant yet contrasting flavors for a unique mix of sweet, tangy, and zesty.
Flavor 19 – Limon Bleu (blueberries w/ lemon zest and peppermint) – The lemon and peppermint in this flavor play up the effervescence adding a bold punch to contrast the deliciously sweet blueberries. To be honest, while the background could be toned down a bit for my tastes, I was simply in love with the blueberries … they made the whole yogurt for me.
Flavor 16 – L’Exotique (peaches w/ honey, cinnamon, cardamom, and clove) – On its own the yogurt was just so-so, nothing special, a bit blah. But stir in the fruit compote accompaniment, and it came alive! It was literally infused with spices. Plus, every spoonful was filled with sweet and sour peach bites that far exceeded those paltry mini-bits of overly-sweetened peaches found in so many yogurts. These were bold, dried, grown-up chunks, much like chutney. Though not vegan friendly, I must admit that I Ioved the pure taste of the honey in this yogurt so much more than the yogurts that are sweetened with agave.
Sample Ingredient/Nutrition Profile (the flavor 16): 5.3 oz 210 cal, 10g fat, 42mg sodium, 3g fiber, 18g sugar, 2g protein – filitered water, organic coconut, honey, dried peach, peach puree, evap cane juice, cornstarch, locust bean gum, agar, cinnamon, sea salt, cardamom, clove, yogurt cultures. [Note: other flavors sampled do not use honey, only evaporated cane juice to sweeten]
To sum it up, this is an incredibly unique new entrant to the dairy-free market. Realistically, it was hard for me to review as it had such an interesting combination of tastes that you really need to experience for yourself. Nu Lait is now available in stores, and will be sold on iGourmet and via other online retailers.Their website is still under construction, but you can check back to see if they add a store locator, or simply request that your local market order some in.
* As mentioned, one of the flavors I tasted had honey, so it wouldn't qualify as vegan. Also, since I didn't note the GF certified seal, but the ingredients appeared gluten-free, check with the company to verify.