This week I was pleased to accepts Chobani‘s kind invitation for dinner. Now I’d not heard of Chobani before and I must admit that I was intrigued as to how they were going to incorporate yoghurt into a meal being cooked and presented at a top restaurant. So I went to Edmunds Restaurant, Brindley Place, Birmingham keen to see how Chobani Meets Fine Dining was going to work in practice.
It was lovely to be greeted so warmly by the Chobani crew and this was backed up by the flawless service provided by the Maitre D’ that I’d last seen at presiding over the dining room of a nearby Michelin starred establishment. Having a cocktail pressed into your hand is a great way to start the evening and this (like the rest of the meal) features Chobani yoghurt.
As you’d expect in a fine dining establishment of Edmunds’ calibre (which is very high – I’d eaten there before), the table was a sight to behold in its own right. The menu took my eye as everything on it involved Chobani yoghurt. For each course there were two or three choices, so providing a comprehensive range of dishes cooked using Chobani. On top of this during the meal we were treated to some amuse bouches which also featured the yoghurt product.
Between courses we learned the story of Chobani, how it was set up in America in a former Kraft factory and within 5 years it was an enormous business. Becoming successful so quickly is usually down to having a top quality product and Chobani is no exception. They take fresh milk and add a special recipe of yoghurt cultures. The yoghurt is then authentically strained and real fruit is added. The result is thick, creamy yoghurt that is packed with protein (twice that of normal yoghurt). Almost all their products are fat-free too.
Chobani can also be used as a cooking ingredient as a substitute for cream, oil, butter, cream cheese and more. Many of the dishes we were treated to during the evening used the yoghurt in this way. Others made use of the fruit yoghurts.
This was my first course of Roasted Breast of Palombe Pigeon. Now I do like pigeon with its gamey taste, in fact this was my second helping of pigeon of the week. It was really flavoursome (although I did have a little trouble cutting mine) and beetroot is a natural pairing. The blueberry Chobani dressing provided an extra harmonious note. Doesn’t it look pretty too?
Main course for me came in the shape of a Fillet of Beef with Lemon Chobani Marinated Herb Potatoes and Chobani Mushroom Sauce. The fillet was wonderful tender and perfectly cooked to my specification. The creaminess of the Chobani was the perfect complement to the meat and combined so well with the lemon and mushroomy flavours.
I can never resist a souffle for dessert, can you? This Chobani Raspberry Souffle came risen and light. At the table, it was cut and yoghurt was added to add its creaminess to the souffle texture.
Chobani really surprised me with its versatility. Using yoghurt for cooking is likely to become a much more integral part of my cooking at home. I really like the sound of using Chobani instead of oil or mayonnaise especially as it is fat free, but it tastes so creamy, you’d never suspect it.