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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Dairy Nirvana!

Israel is only lately starting to catch the 'low-fat- and 'no-fat' craze in packaged/processed foods.  But unlike in the US, it is still pretty easy to find the 'regular' full-fat versions of just about anything you want.

I've written on several occasions about the incredible range of delicious dairy choices here in Israel.  I was even considering writing about a new flavor of yogurt I've fallen in love with lately (blueberry cheesecake).  But then yesterday I discovered something that went beyond even my wildest dreams of dairy deliciousness.

But first a little backstory:

On the way home from work yesterday Zahava called to ask me to stop off at our makolet and pick up a few things: fresh cream, milk, cheese, butter and sour cream.  This made things pretty easy because the entire mission would entail standing in front of my favorite part of the store; the dairy case.

Fresh cream for the coffee was easy, as were the other items on the list.  But when I went looking for sour cream I noticed something new that I had never seen before.  Next to the regular Tnuva shemenet (sour cream) there was something called 'shemenet shel pa'am' (old fashioned sour cream).

Now, it's important to understand that in the US, regular sour cream is generally around 18-19% milk fat.  The really decadent, high-end US sour cream might even be around 20%. 

This 'shemenet shel pa'am' was 27% milk fat!!!  I must have been making little happy noises because the makolet owner came over to make sure I was OK.

After being assured that I was indeed OK, the owner pointed at the sour cream in my hand and assured me that if I had never tasted it, it would ruin me for anything else... I'd never be able to go back to regular sour cream again.

Last night after a nice dinner of sauteed sole and creamed spinach (thank you honey!), I decided to treat myself to a taste of this 'shemenet shel pa'am' for dessert.  Just a taste, mind you.

Oh.  My.  Gawd!

It was like eating the richest, creamiest custard on earth.  I had mixed in some Splenda®  to make it a bit more 'desserty', and it was soooo good that I ended up finishing the whole container! 

When I say I 'finished the container', I should point out that under normal circumstances I would usually let the dog lick out the little dribbles left in the plastic container.  Last night Jordan sat and watched with dismay as I licked every last trace of goodness from carton!

Sorry Jordan... it's a dog-eat-dog world out there and I'm the 'alfa dog' in our household!  :-)

The makolet owner was right... I'm ruined!  I will never be able to eat regular sour cream again.


Posted by David Bogner on November 3, 2005 | Permalink


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Thanks for the heads-up! I have to try some!

(And I do hope you'll give Jordan a little taste next time ... unless you're afraid of spoiling her, too.) :-)

Posted by: Rahel | Nov 3, 2005 1:03:55 PM

Well, I guess we know what you'll be putting on your latkes!

Posted by: Dave | Nov 3, 2005 1:16:35 PM

Sounds like enough cholesterol to last an entire lifetime...it must have been good!!! Does this mean you're not going to tell us about the blueberry cheesecake (two of my favorite words in the english language) yoghurt? That would be cruel...

Posted by: mcaryeh | Nov 3, 2005 1:27:25 PM

You are a strange dude david. Here you are ranting about how fattening and flavorful this Israeli dairy is and what do you do with this great sounding sour cream? You add splenda! Why? Are you afraid of the extra calories at that point? Use sugar or some extra fine sugar. Unless of course that's all you had available in which case I forgive you. Also, does this mean we should expect that "221" to be going up soon? I rarely ever see much chande there. Keep me posted!

Posted by: Jewish Blogmeister | Nov 3, 2005 2:15:24 PM

I understand that if you keep ten 'box tops" you can trade them in for a free 'angioplasty!"

Posted by: shabtai | Nov 3, 2005 2:17:56 PM

I was wondering about the splenda too. Have you lost your taste for real sugar?

Posted by: Tanya | Nov 3, 2005 2:22:19 PM

I'm appalled at you eating sour cream plain... eeeeew! Nasty! It has to be PUT on something...

Posted by: val | Nov 3, 2005 2:31:19 PM

What's the matter. You couldn't find a strawberry or something to glop it on?
In a related incident, my daughter has recently learned (from her mother) about the substitution of Creme Fraiche for cream cheese with lox. I bet the 27% sour cream is a similar flavor.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Nov 3, 2005 2:35:42 PM

Rahel... Enjoy (in moderation, of course)! as for Jordan... she'll have to settle for the end of the cottage cheese (9%) containers.

Dave... If you think I'll be waiting until Hanukkah for another dose of these goodness you have another things coming!

Mcaryeh... Like you said, blueberry cheesecake describes two of the most heavenly flavors on earth! When I saw them together on a yogurt container I simply had to buy it. It was everything I had hoped (and more), and I try to have it at least twice a week despite the 7.3 grams of carbs it contains.

Jewish Blogmister... You can be forgiven since you are relatively new to treppenwitz, but for future reference: Sugar (carbs) = Bad, and Protein/Fat = Good. Yes, I am an Atkins adherent. My '221' hasn't changed because for several months I have been cheating a bit on the Atkins and trying to make up for it by walking a couple of kilometers before or after lunch. Since the holidays ended I am being much more strict with my carb intake so you might see the 221 drop in the not-to-distant future.

Shabtai... No need in a country with socialized medicine! :-)

Tanya... See my reply to JB. Splenda tastes every bit as good as sugar to me and I'd rather waste my carb allotment on something worthwhile rather than just sugar.

Val... OK, I'm putting a big dab on my middle finger. How does that look? [holds it up for you to see] :-)

Jordan... Fruit = carbs. What can I say? :-)

Posted by: David | Nov 3, 2005 2:47:30 PM

Um... you're crazy? When I read the title my first thought was: Those wonderful "cafe haphuch" lattes they make in Israel. Second thought: Smoochies from his little ones. I never would have thought a CONTAINER of SOUR CREAM. excuse me while I channel my 16-year-old stepdaughter: "EWWW!"

Posted by: mirty | Nov 3, 2005 3:14:19 PM

My arteries are getting clogged just reading this! I agree with you on the Splenda. Some of my friends think I am crazy but I'd rather waste my calories on something better.

Posted by: Essie | Nov 3, 2005 4:15:58 PM

My two favorite dairy treats in Israel are Milkies (boy I love them) and the cottage cheese. I never knew Milkies weren't kosher or at least Kosher enough to be sold in the stores where I live, so whenever I get up to NY, you bet I always leave with a wk supply (ok...they are gone by the time I get back home.) As for the cottage cheese, I don't think Israeli cottage cheese has preservatives in it. I know compared to American cottage cheese, the American kind is very salty and just yucky. I am hoping to find an organic kind that can come close to the delicious taste that you find in Israel.

Posted by: Jaime | Nov 3, 2005 4:19:34 PM

David - I totally understood about the Splenda. I am a high protein/fat, low carb/sugar person also. I don't get the idea of eating a container of sour cream though! Maybe it is just because I've only had standard US grocery store sour cream? - JG

Posted by: jg | Nov 3, 2005 4:29:46 PM

I see. I thought all dairy had a lot of carbs, because I've heard you can't drink milk on Atkins, so saving carbs by using splenda seemed like drinking diet coke with a whole box of oreos.

(I'd survive about a week without my beloved skim milk, but I hate sour cream. To copy everyone else "Ewwwww!")

Posted by: Tanya | Nov 3, 2005 4:46:40 PM

California has happy cows and happy cows make better cheese/milk/etc or so the ads tell us.

Have to go with Val on this one, straight sour cream just feels strange.

BTW, what happens when sour cream expires, does it become sweet.

Posted by: Jack | Nov 3, 2005 5:06:51 PM

Oy. Just what I needed to know: that there was a Super-Fatty Sour Cream out there.

One of my favorite dairy dinners is a bowl of cottage cheese with sour cream. With a 50:50 ratio, it's dead solid perfect, no sweetener required. Of course, a little dried fruit compote can't hurt...

Posted by: Elisson | Nov 3, 2005 5:32:51 PM

Mirty... So I thought when my only frame of reference was Breakstone sour cream. The sour cream here is truly like custard!

Essie... Just for the record, my cholesterol was always in the normal range, but when I went on Atkins it dropped dramatically. I am now at the low end of the normal scale even though I eat lots of red meat, cream in my coffee, lots of oils in and on my foods, and more eggs and cheeses than you can imagine!

Jaime... The Milkie kosher debate continues to be waged here as well... but you should know that there is another company that makes an identical version of the milkie that is acceptable to everyone. Just another reason to move here. :-)

JG... When and if you ever decide to visit Israel your eyes will be opened. you will never be able to eat dairy products in the US again without thinking "what the hell is this crap?"

Tanya... Milk (especially skim) has lots of carbs... which is why I put medium (and even sometimes heavy) cream in my coffee. Cheeses are also fairly low in carbs (hard cheeses have less than soft).

Jack... Nice ad slogan but no basis in reality. You should know as well or better than most of the commenters what Israeli dairy products are all about. Sour cream with sugar or splenda is the most amazing pudding-like treat ever!

Elisson... You've just described my daughter's favorite breakfast. I sometimes also mix the two, but I favor the sour cream over the cottage cheese. Oh, by the way... the cottage cheese comes in 5% or 9%. I go with 9% every time. :-)

Posted by: David | Nov 3, 2005 5:54:12 PM

David - what's the name of the product? I will ask the stores if they would consider carrying it. What I love about the milkies is that the chocolate pudding is not the instant junk you get here, and the whipped cream is real...YUMMY!

Posted by: Jaime | Nov 3, 2005 8:23:01 PM

Mirty and Tanya said everything I was thinking better than I could. I'll get back to work and let them comment for me from now on. :-)

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Nov 3, 2005 10:38:18 PM

David, sorry to be a sour puss, but "Shamenet Shel Pa'am" has been around for quite a while already. If I'd known you didn't know about it, I would have been glad to reveal all. And would everyone please quit wrinkling their noses at eating sour cream right out of the container! What's wrong with you people? ;)

Jaime, the closest thing to Israeli cottage cheese I found in the States is Bridgestone and it has an OU Heksher, at least it did 15 years ago. :) (It's the guar gum that's added to most cottage cheese that make it taste so bad, I think.)

Posted by: jennifer | Nov 4, 2005 11:19:25 AM

Atkins?? really... ok, I'm not a believer. I'm a no-fat girl when it comes to weight loss, and an everything in moderation girl when it comes to maintaining and being a happy person who doesn't need to "fall off the wagon" because I feel I've been depriving myself of something. We have something in Norway called Seter rømme, which gives you that "I'm doing something evil here, but just one more heaping spoonful, I promise" feeling...it is in the sour cream dept, probably something like what you had. Divine, really.

Posted by: nrg | Nov 4, 2005 12:09:34 PM

Oh my, 27%! You really do have a lot of wonderful dairy selections to choose from in Eretz HaKodesh. Thank you for making the galut seem ever so much deeper, perhaps this will make even more people yearn for geulah. Even my dog was salivating hearing about the shemenet shel pa'am!

Posted by: Israel | Nov 4, 2005 8:28:11 PM

This sounds like that fateful day in October 2000 when the little corner store where I got my morning coffee was out of skim milk and I had to use full cream. I'll never forget it, mostly because I never went back to skim. Ever.

Posted by: Noa | Nov 8, 2005 9:48:26 PM

Jaime... I haven't been to the store since you asked your question so I will have to email you the answer when I have it. Sorry.

Jennifer... I know that now. In fact it is the original sour cream from Tnuva. But it is new to me (as are so many things I write about here). :-)

nrg... The reason I love Atkins is that I don't feel like I'm denying myself (most of the time anyway). I can have all the stuff I love: meat, cheese, eggs, cream, fish, etc. What could be bad?

Israel... I wouldn't go moving to Israel just for the dairy products. But if you are already thinking about it... it makes the transition that much easier.

Noa... Let me guess... you heard angels singing? :-)

Posted by: David | Nov 9, 2005 11:18:15 AM

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