We’ve reviewed a few food items on the blog in the past and we always try to share new products we’ve discovered that we love or that fit into a healthy lifestyle. When I heard about this “new” thing called Quark, I was quickly flooded with memories of the time I studied abroad in Germany during my college days. For those that don’t know, I spent a summer in Kassel, Germany studying the language and culture and just generally having a blast. And Quark is actually a creamy German style cheese. Think sour cream meets cream cheese meets creme fraiche. So I knew I had to try it and wanted to share my discovery of the Elli Quark brand with you all!
The amazing thing about quark though is the health factor – it has a great protein to carb ratio naturally for a cheese product. However, Elli Quark has taken the wonderful creamy texture of quark cheese and transformed it into a serious health food that can substitute for regular yogurt or even greek yogurt any day. In fact, Elli’s product, foil topped containers, and flavors immediately make you think it’s going to be Greek yogurt – what a genius marketing strategy. Elli Quark has NO fat, only 6g net carbs, only 80-90 calories, and a whopping 14-17g of protein. If that isn’t enough, according to their website, they believe wholeheartedly in using clean ingredients so you don’t have to worry about what is going into your body as you enjoy eating it, because you will enjoy eating it, and you won’t believe it’s good for you. So while it may look like yogurt, it’s not yogurt at all. Stupidly low in calories, crazy amounts of protein, far less added sugar and none of that dry, powdery gum-smacking texture or super sour taste of Greek yogurt, Elli Quark could quite possibly take over the world.
Elli Quark was gracious enough to send us a variety pack of all 12 flavors they currently offer and it was delivered right to our home after just two days. It sat on our front step for a few hours in the afternoon, but that was no problem. Upon opening the package, I noticed that everything was still ice cold.
Inside the box was a padded insulated lining wrapped around quark stacked in two tiers with a long lasting gel ice pack on top of each layer. The insulated liner acted like a cooler wrapping up over the top as well and that helped to keep those ice packs cold – in fact they were still frozen when I opened the package.
Such a nifty way to have food delivered to your home. You can place orders directly from their website. It’s a great option to have it delivered right to your home if you are like me and find it difficult to purchase locally. You can also search their website to find where it would be available nearby.
As I said, they sent me a variety pack of their flavors. They currently offer 12 different ones:
- vanilla bean
- bananas foster
- red velvet
- sea salt caramel
- mint chocolate
I was SUPER excited to to try the red velvet, sea salt caramel, and mint chocolate.
But first up was lemon…
The Elli website describes the Elli Quark Lemon flavor as light and refreshing with a rich and creamy, cheesecake-like decadence. I couldn’t have said it better myself. This one has one of the thicker consistencies with a super creamy, luscious texture. The color is a lovely pale lemon yellow, the smell of bright, crisp lemon hits your nose and the flavor is light, lemony, but not overly bitey. I paired it with a caramel nut brownie flavored luna bar. You would think that would be an odd pairing, but it was beautiful. The light, tangy lemon played off the rich, dark chocolate brownie so well.
How else could you use Elli Quark Lemon? Serve on top of asparagus, use in a lemon bar or cheesecake in place of sour cream or ricotta, use in a pasta salad dressing, dollop onto ricotta pancakes, make a lemon ‘yogurt’ sauce to serve with grilled chicken or artichokes. I think the lemon flavor is one of the most versatile they offer – so many ways to use it!
Elli Quark Bananas Foster is the first dessert flavor that we tried. It too has a nice thick, rich and creamy texture with a delicate banana flavor and hint of caramel. The banana definitely comes through front and center – but not that overly cloying fake banana flavoring; it would be perfect if more of the sweet caramel and rum were present. However, it is odd to get the natural tang of the quark cheese mixed in with the sweet, decadence of bananas foster – that acidic bite pairs best with the fruit flavors. But I would still eat this any day of the week.
How else could you use Elli Quark Bananas Foster? Mix it with bananas and vanilla wafers for a healthier banana pudding, make a clean and dirty mug cake, pour over your favorite blondie or cookie instead of ice cream, use as a filling in stuffed french toast with fresh bananas.
Elli Quark Blueberry has a thinner texture possibly from extra lemon and fruit juice. Not really sure. Either way it still has a creamy yogurt like texture – it isn’t overly thin or runny, if anything it is even a bit fluffy – with bits of blueberries sprinkled throughout. The flavor of the blueberries is prominent with a hint of fresh lemon in the background. It is delicious!
How to else to use Elli Quark Blueberry? Mix it in with oatmeal, turn it into blueberry chia seed pancakes, or make a blueberry quark crumb cake.
Cherry is one of my all time favorite flavors. I am a sucker for a good black cherry yogurt or ice cream, specially if there is chocolate involved. Elli Quark Cherry has a texture very much like the blueberry flavor with sizable fresh cherry pieces throughout and a light pink hue. I was not disappointed – AT. ALL. The cherry has one of the strongest flavors out of the bunch – sweet and tart cherries mixed with that natural acidic bite. Yum!
How else would I use Elli Quark Cherry? Top a brownie with it, mix it with chocolate chips and almonds for a sweet treat, turn it into ice cream with chocolate swirled in, making a cherry quark cheesecake, use it as a filling in a cherry strudel.
Ah, peach – the flavor of summer! This one, the Elli Quark Peach, smacks you in the face with fresh peach flavor. The texture here is also a tad thinner like the other fruit flavors and the color is perfectly peachy again with specs of fresh fruit pieces throughout. Very refreshing!
Strawberry has to be one of the most ubiquitous yogurt flavors on the market. Everyone loves it. But not all strawberry flavored foods are created equal. In fact, a lot of them don’t taste very fresh to me. The Elli Quark Strawberry is incredibly fresh though. I cannot reiterate it enough – but they really do use fresh fruit sourced from local farmers with great flavor and you can taste the difference. There is no fake strawberry flavor here. The bits of strawberry fruit throughout also pump up the flavor. The texture of this one is thicker than the other fruit flavors – it is rich, thick and delicious!
How else could you use Elli Quark Strawberry? Serve it with more fresh berries and a shortbread cookie for a healthier strawberry shortcake, make this strawberry quark cake or make a regular cake using boxed mix and strawberry quark, make strawberry quark mousse, freeze it into a popsicle treat, whip it up into a strawberry dressing for a strawberry spinach salad or for dipping fruit.
I am so glad that the craze with sea salt caramel flavored goodies has not died down. Who doesn’t love a hint of salt with the flavor of deeply rich, super sweet caramel? Elli Quark Sea Salt Caramel has a subtle caramel flavor and just a hint of the sea salt. You pick up enough that you know what the flavor profile is, but it doesn’t hit you in the face. I was glad that it was not overly sweet, which was no surprise since it is blended with quark’s natural tangy flavor. However, we felt that the sea salt caramel could have been stronger in flavor.
Ways to use Elli Quark Sea Salt Caramel? Blend it with fresh whipped cream and layer in a trifle with fresh fruit and chocolate chips, dollop on a baked sweet potato or on top of a chocolate silk or chess pie, spoon over cinnamon baked apples or serve as a dip for fresh apples for a healthier version of apples and caramel.
Pineapple is not a flavor I reach for often, but I do love a fresh pineapple cut up into bite-size pieces or sliced and grilled, or caramelized. I love how a perfectly ripe pineapple balances sweet and tart – it still has that sour bite to it. The Elli Quark Pineapple is SUPER thick and a nice pale yellow color. It also tastes exactly like a perfectly ripe pineapple. A lot of pineapple flavored foods miss the mark because they are just super sweet without the tart bite. Well Elli Quark got it right. Even the hubs said, yep, that tastes like pineapple. Pure and simple!
How else to use Elli Quark Pineapple other than enjoying straight out of the container? Blended in a non-alcoholic pina colada smoothie with coconut milk or coconut water, use in place of canned pineapple in a carrot cake, make tropical overnight oats, use in a pineapple teriyaki marinade or add to this pineapple teriyaki meatloaf, make pineapple coconut scones.
I’m not a big vanilla fan usually. I will almost always choose chocolate over vanilla. Vanilla is another one of those flavor profiles that will either be too subtle or quickly becomes WAY too strong. The sickening sweet smell of vanilla scented candles or vanilla sugar body wash is always too over powering for me – it’s strong and sweet and not in a good way. BUT the Elli Quark Vanilla Bean is UH-MAZING. See those tiny flecks of vanilla beans peppering the classic white quark? THAT got me excited immediately because it means they did indeed use real vanilla beans in the making of it and using real, fresh vanilla beans lends to getting a strong vanilla flavor that is not overly sweet. Just throwing a couple of splashes of vanilla “flavoring” into the mix ensures you will have that imitation vanilla flavor that is just terrible. The texture of this one is also perrrrrrfect. In fact, I think it has the best texture of the bunch – not too thin, not too thick, but jjjjjuuussst right. I could have consumed a gallon of it all by itself.
BUT how else could you use Elli Quark Vanilla Bean? So many ways…put this one on top of a baked sweet potato or blended in sweet potato casserole or on top of any type of brownie, blondie, cookie, etc. Use it in cakes or cream pies, spoon on top of a cobbler, blend it into an ice cream, freeze it into frozen yogurt or popsicles folded with fresh fruit, serve it on a fresh fruit salad or as a fruit dip by itself, dollop onto pancakes or waffles.
Elli Quark Mint Chocolate is the next flavor and it… is… good! We were down to our last few flavors to try and it was a fight over who got to eat this one and who got the Red Velvet flavor. I let the hubs have this one…after I snuck a spoon full. The taste is a nice, cool mint with hints of chocolate that reminds me of an Andes mint! The texture is perfectly smooth and fluffy and it has a luscious pale mint green color. Seriously good – refreshing and richly satisfying in the same bite.
How else could you use Elli Quark Mint Chocolate? Churn it into mint chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate chips, blend into a healthy mint chocolate shake with chocolate protein powder and a splash of almond milk or turn into an healthier minty version of a mudslide.
Elli Quark Red Velvet was the other flavor we had to fight over. Open it up and get a whiff of tangy chocolate blended with cream cheese frosting. The key to a red velvet cake is rich, deep bitter chocolate blended with the acidic bite of vinegar and buttermilk and then to cap it off with saccharine cream cheese frosting. Naturally, the flavors of red velvet pair perfectly with the tang of quark cheese. The texture is again totally smooth and creamy; the color is a light, but muddied pink. Too much food coloring in things like pudding or icing can leave it bitter, almost rancid. So I was perfectly happy with the light pink hue. Basically the Elli Quark Red Velvet tastes just like a red velvet cake, but in super healthy quark form. I was one happy girl – yes indeed. This is by far my favorite flavor of them all.
How else could you possibly use Elli Quark Red Velvet?
Last, but not least we tried Elli Quark Plain, which actually has the most calories, but also the most protein. Don’t worry it’s still only 90 calories for 6 ounces. The plain quark has by far the thickest texture – it’s almost like whipped cream cheese. It is so reminiscent of strained Greek yogurt that you think it is going to have a sourness to it and leave your mouth feeling parched, but it’s not that at all. Elli Quark Plain is incredibly creamy with no sour zest. The first thing that hits your nose is a subtly discernible savory cheese flavor. When I took a bite, I realized that this one really hits at the cheese flavor of quark – it is just cheese after all. Imagine eating a whipped up version of cream cheese blended with ricotta. I couldn’t eat this one by itself regularly, but if I am honest I could eat it more easily than I can plain Greek yogurt.
How could you use Elli Quark Plain? The question really is how could you not use it? Use it to replace anything that you’d replace with Greek yogurt like sour cream or mayonnaise. Because it is cheese you could also easily replace cream cheese, ricotta cheese or goat cheese with it. Blend it into pasta dishes or risotto instead of using other cheeses full of fat. I’m even thinking Quark lasagna.
So what are my final thoughts? Elli Quark is a very unique product that may flip the Greek yogurt industry on it’s head once it becomes more readily available and once the pricepoint is more in line with yogurt. At $2 each it is still pretty affordable as a special treat, but to eat it every day at double the cost of yogurt, that may become cost prohibitive for some. However, the low calories, protein to carb ratio, no added sugar, and natural ingredients make the health benefits of this as an easy grab and go snack unparalleled. The flavors that Elli has chosen to offer are all extremely popular choices. They are non-GMO, all-natural, use rBST free milk, have plant based sweeteners that do not spike blood sugar, and don’t contain artificial ingredients, dyes, fillers, gelatin, corn, nuts, or soy.
Would I buy Elli Quark again? Yes.
What flavors would I get again and again and again? Red Velvet, Mint Chocolate, Lemon, and Vanilla Bean.
How can you get your hands on your own Elli Quark? You can place orders directly from their website. They will ship it directly to your door using insulated liners and frozen gel packs. The shipping charges are very reasonable! You can also search their website to find a local retailer near you.
This is a “sponsored post.” We received a free sampler pack from Elli Quark to try their products and write a review. As always, all opinions are our own and we aren’t afraid to be honest about products. If we don’t like it, we will tell you. Regardless, this blog only recommends products or services we use personally and believe will be good for our readers.