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Can’t Play Wit My Fro-Yo!

05/23/2010

Pinkberry Yogurt

Pinkberry Yogurt

We could say it all started with TCBY in the 80’s but there was a definite burst in frozen yogurt sales when Pinkberry came into the picture. In a world of dieters and health-conscious people, this non-fat delight with an array of fresh fruits and toppings was befitting. A new fad was born, and Pinkberry quickly became prosperous, faster than the small operation was able to handle. Enter Maveron (better known as Starbucks). Fairly quickly after that Pinkberry was under investigation, it was claimed that the actual yogurt culture ratio was so miniscule that it could not honestly call itself frozen yogurt.

Nevertheless, the market for Frozen yogurt took hold first in Los Angeles, and eventually nested itself into New York. Pinkberry adjusted their recipe accordingly and the industry charged on. Inevitably following this increase in the frozen money maker was a barrage of copycat stores as well as established international yogurt companies opening stores Stateside.

Philadelphia adopted three new stores in the last five years: Sweet Ending (18th & Chestnut), Phileo (4th & South), and Yogorino (20th & Locust). Sweet Ending and Phileo are self-serve, with a variety of rotating flavors and toppings. The yogurt is non-fat but most of the toppings are not. Both of these locations are pay-by-weight, dependent on their customers having eyes bigger than their stomachs. Yogorino takes a more dignified approach to the yogurt experience, with gourmet hot and fruit sauces which are served and charged by topping. Their yogurt is low-fat but pro-biotic, which is the healthiest option because it aids in digestion, supports your immune system, and is full of protein. Sweet Ending and Phileo have Korean origins, while Yogorino was borne of Italy.

Sweet Ending Pink Guava Yogurt with Mochi, Fresh Fruit and coconut.Sweet Ending

1800 Chestnut Street

Sweet Ending has many creative yogurt flavors and enough options of toppings to concoct a new treat every visit. They have plain tart yogurt, however it is a bit unremarkable in flavor, one is more inclined to try peanut butter or green tea. Pink guava has a wonderfully tart zing, while pomegranate and pineapple are bright and refreshing. Watermelon and blueberries freeze in the yogurt and burst in refreshing sweetness. The Asian influence is prominent in its tropical combinations. Mochi pieces are also available, a tasty sweet flour rice cake which is pounded from glutinous rice. Their prices are reasonable and they have a variety of size choices.

Phileo Island Banana and Green Tea Yogurt with Mochi, fruit, and coconut.

Phileo

416 South Street

Phileo resides amongst the bustle of South Street vendors. You may risk premature brain-freeze as you enter with the millions of possibilities of combinations. Twelve flavor machines are crowded with people staring at the flavors and trying to decide. The topping bar goes on for miles, with fruit and chocolate and granola and sprinkles. The even have cheesecake pieces rolled in graham cracker. The smallest cup looks to be at least ten ounces and is a great marketing ploy on their part. If you fill the cup, you have probably spent about seven bucks. Some of the fruit is definitely canned and most likely generic. My experience with the pineapple was disappointing to say the least.

Yogorino yogurt with Warm Pistachio Sauce and Shredded Coconut

Yogorino yogurt with Warm Pistachio Sauce and Shredded Coconut

Yogorino

233 S. 20th Street

Yogorino is byfar exceeding its competition with their truly tart yogurt and much more creative sauces and toppings. They serve only one flavor: plain. Each topping added gives it a different character, patrons decide between warm pistachio sauce, finely shredded coconut, and cold banana sauce (or even all three if that’s your thing). Chocolate sauce is available in both milk or dark, and hardens as it is thinly drizzled over the yogurt. Fresh fruits rotate, from nectarines to pomegranates to strawberries. Dry toppings include chunks of Toblerone (torrone), white chocolate wafer pieces (dolce wafer), and sweet almonds (dolce mandorla). Philadelphia is Yogorino’s flagship American store, with locations in Dubai, Rome, Florence, Croatia, China, and Tokyo to name a few. They serve their yogurt in 100% biodegradable cups.

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