Food Programme

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Investigating every aspect of the food we eat


Greek Yogurt: a global love affair

January 26th, 2014

Episode 368 of 622 episodes

In the Great Taste Awards last year, a yogurt from a small British dairy beat over 10,000 competitors to win the Supreme Champion title. This surprised many, not least because it was a simple, plain, 'Greek-style' yogurt. This type of fermented milk product, often strained to remove whey, is a relative newcomer in the UK - but is on the rise. In fact, Greek and Greek-style yogurt is the fastest growing sector of the UK yogurt market. It has also been at the centre of a High Court battle, an American health craze and a multi-billion dollar yogurt war. In this edition of the Food Programme, Sheila Dillon discovers the secrets of making this thick, creamy... and delicious cultured food. It was originally made in this country by immigrants such as the founders of Tim's Dairy, now run by four brothers whose Greek Cypriot uncle started making yogurt in a small London workshop in 1949, and now make around five to ten thousand litres of Greek-style yogurt a day. Collete and David Strachan are dairy farmers, but after losing cows (even though none were infected) during BSE and with the price of milk spiralling ever downward, the future of their Suffolk farm was in question. Ten years ago they started to experiment with yogurt-making, and along the way, as Sheila discovers, they have been joined by two of their children James and Katherine- and it's their plain Greek-style yogurt made at Marybelle Dairy that has just won the Supreme Champion award. So what is 'Greek' yogurt? With the help of BBC producer Aylin Bozyap-Hannen who learnt how to make yogurt from her Turkish mother, Sheila reveals a traditional, regional food that has been on an incredible, controversial, and tasty journey. Producer: Rich Ward.

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