Tuesday, November 10, 2015

New York City Froyo Report

Fro-yo girl here. New York City has always been a trendsetter when it comes to food and it’s no different when it comes to froyo. I’m always excited to visit and check out the froyo offerings. The diversity of froyo offerings is impressive and the city offers much more than your typical froyo, including many counter serve shops and innovative froyo offerings.

Homegrown Favorites

GRK is a quick-serve chain of Greek cafes serving fresh Greek food, Greek drinks and Greek yogurt (fresh/refrigerated or frozen). GRK started in NYC and now has a Washington DC outpost.

There’s a separate express line for counter-served fresh or frozen yogurt (spelled ygrt on the sign). Toppings are limited but include interesting Greek toppings like cherry preserves, fig preserves, rose petal preserves along with figs, fresh fruit, Greek honey and nuts. They only have one flavor of yogurt, plain. The yogurt contains no added sugar and is sweetened with honey. It’s on the icier side with a sweet, clean finish – it tastes like real yogurt with natural tanginess.

Culture: An American Yogurt Company is still my favorite NYC froyo shop. The housemade yogurt and housemade toppings are a notch above what you can find elsewhere. They take their yogurt very seriously, making Greek yogurt from scratch from locally sourced Hudson Valley milk and live probiotic cultures. The counter-served yogurt is available fresh or frozen. One variety per day is organic. The frozen yogurt is super thick, clean, tangy with a refreshing edge, less sweet – what froyo should taste like. Gourmet toppings include fresh key lime custard (recommended, very tangy), strawberries macerated in balsamic vinegar and pineapple roasted with cardamom in maple syrup. The key lime pie sundae features key lime custard, lime syrup and graham cracker crumbs (yum). They also have yogurt drinks, froyo cookie sandwiches and Stumptown Coffee. Culture has two locations in NYC and its fresh Greek yogurt is available at select local markets, including Whole Foods.

Victory Garden (31 Carmine St., New York (West Village), NY) is the only goat milk soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt shop in town. The goat milk is sourced from a local farm. Flavors and toppings are seasonal. The goat milk frozen yogurt flavor is distinctive and delicious. The texture is smooth, dense and creamy and the aftertaste is sweet and clean. It tasted “cleaner” and less processed than the typical frozen yogurt. The flavor was tangy but moderately so and the slight refreshing edge was also pleasant. You can taste the goat milk. The flavors are more sophisticated and the toppings healthier. Look out for unusual toppings and sauces like mole sauce, raspberry rose sauce, edible flowers, blackcurrant bay leaf sauce, fennel pollen, bitter orange drizzle, and candied pine nuts.

Butterfield Market (1114 Lexington Ave., New York, NY) is a smallish Upper East Side gourmet market with a froyo/smoothies counter and walkup window. The froyo is counter-served and they serve Frogurt, the same frozen yogurt carried by Forty Carrots (Bloomingdale’s, 1000 3rd Ave., New York, NY).

Blue Olive Market (210 E 41st St., New York, NY) is an upscale Greek market and café in Murray Hill known for its made to order frozen Greek yogurt. The yogurt and toppings are combined and then frozen with liquid nitrogen. 

Greecologies (379 Broome St., New York, NY) serves grass-fed Greek fresh yogurt served in terracotta bowls, smoothies, desserts, coffee and tea in Little Italy. The yogurt is made with local milk and can be topped with sweet or savory toppings like sour cherry, quince, quinoa, muesli and olive oil. There was talk of adding frozen yogurt but they are currently still working on the recipe.

Invasion of the Foreign Froyo Chains

“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere. It’s up to you, New York, New York.” New York is where Chillbox (of Greece) and Yooglers (of Spain) chose to open their first US locations. Yooglers recently closed for good before I had a chance to try it.

Chillbox (204 E 60th St., New York, NY) has one Upper East Side location. I was told that the frozen yogurt comes from Greece and so do some of the toppings like the honey and sour cherry syrup. I suppose this explains the price, 78 cents an ounce. While the frozen yogurt is good (tangy, whipped, light and smooth), it isn’t the best in town and some of the toppings didn’t look that fresh.

Yogorino (657 Broadway, New York, NY) of Italy opened its first US location in Philadelphia. The NYC location added a new flavor, chocolate, a few months ago. The chocolate flavor tasted too much like cocoa powder, but the original flavor is as good as I remembered it: thick, creamy, whipped/light with a light tang and mild flavor. It’s not as tart as tart froyo but it does have some tang. This location also offers crepes, gelato, milkshakes and beverages.

Froyo for Travelers

Penn Station’s Chickpea cafes feature Red Mango frozen yogurt. You can also find Red Mango at JFK International Airport Terminal 7 and LaGuardia International Airport.

Of course there are many other froyo shops in NYC, including 16 Handles, Pinkberry, Yogurtland, Red Mango, Off the Wall, YoArt, Yorganic, Fresko, Uptown Swirl, etc. Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to visit them all.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Looking for more frozen yogurt news, discussion boards, and resources? Check out the International Frozen Yogurt Association website at http://internationalfrozenyogurt.com/. The IFYA is the independent voice of the frozen yogurt industry.

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