There are some foods that we come to recognize as staples in our quest for a healthy lifestyle. Among the staples you will find in my house are plenty of fruits and veggies, granola, and greek yogurt. I have mentioned before that the fact that granola and yogurt are staples for me is ironic given that I greatly disliked both for the longest time. However, as I have grown up my tastes have evolved. I was never one to shy away from trying new foods and that has not changed as I have gotten older. In fact, I recently came across another food that will likely be making its way into my rotation. A few months back a group of friends and I decided to take on the Tone it Up Bikini Series. In addition to the daily workouts, founders Karena and Katrina regularly post videos about healthy eating and recipes for their fans to try out. One of the videos that I watched mentioned a brand called Elli Quark. At first I thought that this was another brand of yogurt. The brand comes in 6oz containers that resemble your typical yogurt cup and at first glance it looks like yogurt. However, quark is in fact cheese. A common dairy dish in many European countries, quark’s value proposition over greek yogurt is its higher protein to carb ratio (quark has 15% more protein), lower calorie count, and no added or artificial sweeteners. Now I will admit, as I perused the Elli Quark site, the phrase “spoonable cheese” did not do much in the way of making me crave the product. While I recognize that cottage cheese is also a spoonable cheese, there was something about a cheese with the texture of yogurt that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around. None the less, I was curious, and so I decided to find it and try it.
The store near me currently carries three flavors, strawberry, lemon, and red velvet. I was surprised to see them retail at $3/cup, but the market I purchased from is known for higher prices. First up on the trial list was strawberry. Opening the container, it would be nearly impossible for someone to identify it as cheese without knowing what it was. Quark is very similar to greek yogurt both in appearance and texture. I would compare it to a cross between greek yogurt and a whipped style yogurt, creamy but a little fluffier than greek yogurt. I expected a texture and flavor more akin to a spreadable cheese like Laughing Cow, but was pleasantly surprised to find that there was little difference from the flavored greek yogurts I have tried. Elli Quark claims that their product has a less sour taste than greek yogurt, but as I usually eat plain greek yogurt and was trying a flavored quark, that comparison is difficult to make. The 6oz cup left me feeling satisfied and without any kind of after taste, which was an added bonus.
Next up was the Red Velvet. While this was also very tasty, it was a little rich for breakfast. It would however, be the perfect evening treat after a long day. It is sweet enough to feel like a dessert but healthy enough to remove any guilt associated with a sweet treat. I am tempted to stick a cup in the freezer for a few minutes to get it extra cold the next time I have an ice cream craving.
Finally, the lemon flavor. This was my least favorite of the three. The tart flavor reminded me a bit of a lemon cheesecake, but without some of the richness to lessen the bite of the lemon. If it was available I would eat it again, but given options I would lean towards the strawberry.
Elli Quark has a whole host of other flavors including blueberry, mint chocolate, and plain. While I’ll probably skip the bananas foster flavor, I’ll be interested to try some of the variations.
So there you have it, the new kid on the healthy alternatives block. Let me know if you’ve tried quark and what flavors I should try next!