By Ethan Durham, Local Food Advocate (and Sous Food Geek at Eat Drink Law)
Oh Chobani, I have a confession, I love you so for so many reasons.
Let’s start at the beginning. I’ve never been a yogurt fan. Check that, not since probably grade school. And honestly at that point I didn’t have much of a choice, sorry mom. And even then, if I was given the option to choose, frozen yogurt was IT for me.
Fast forward many years to adulthood. I’m married, couple of youngins running around, and I’m trying to at least be somewhat more mindful of my food choices. Enter Greek yogurt? I had no idea what that even meant. I don’t really recall my first experience with a cup of Chobani. It just kinda happened and now… I’m hooked. Why?
Well, there’s the incredible story of Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of Chobani of course. How he purchased a decrepit yogurt factory in Upstate NY and through a vision, hard work, and perseverance he has grown Chobani in a relatively short time (about 7 years) into a global company with annual revenues in the 10 figure range. Let that soak in for a moment. That’s a lot of yogurt and an inspirational success story.
Maybe it’s my ingrained love of all things Upstate NY like Syracuse Basketball, Utica Greens and Chicken Riggies. Maybe it’s because Chobani purchases millions of gallons of milk from Upstate NY dairy farms or how Chobani employs over a thousand people in its Upstate factory alone. All good stuff.
But wait, maybe it’s the simple reason that it tastes great! The consistency, the flavors, the protein; it’s just good to eat and good for me. Sure, I’m aware there are some naysayers out there with various objections of why they don’t agree with me or my tastes, or perhaps they have issues with Chobani and that’s fine. Everybody’s opinion is valid to everyone… but if that’s how you feel you should probably stop reading now because my Chobani cheerleading is just warming up.
As I was saying, the selection of flavors is seemingly endless. I’ve tried them all and their current Limited Batches of Concord Grape and Green Tea? Ridiculous.
Last week I had an opportunity to travel to NYC for work. Devin and I decided to check out Chobani’s lone retail spot in SoHo. I’d heard whispered rumors of ‘savory’ dishes made with Chobani. Umm, what? I thought yogurt was fruity and/or sweet. That had been my experience to date. So, we burst into the trendy SoHo shop yelling “where’s this savory stuff?!” Okay, okay, slight exaggeration. We walked in, stood in line while scouring the menu, and placed our order. But I was pretty excited on the inside!
Here’s what I ordered: Plain Yogurt with Red Pepper Harissa + Feta- red pepper harissa, feta cheese, fresh mint, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, served with pita chips. Whoa, whoa, whoa! I figured if I was gonna give this savory stuff a try I’m going all in.
Do I really need to tell you it was absolutely amazing? Didn’t think so but it was. It was awesome. Regrettably, there’s no moral to this story but my message is simple. If you’re in NYC and you want your taste buds blown away, check out Chobani SoHo. Enjoy!