Which froyo is fo’ yo’?

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Frozen yogurt is the latest frozen treat to join the exclusive club of trendy desserts being dubbed “hipster food.”

The cold delight is a hit among all types of people with all types of tastes. You can go traditional with plain yogurt loaded with healthy fruit toppings or you can go crazy with flavors like birthday cake and mixins like rainbow cookie pieces. The new treat is great for the summer and is quickly replacing ice cream, since it is just as sweet without all the fat. With all these fro-yo shops popping up it can be difficult to choose which is the best one.

Red Mango

Red Mango can probably be credited for making frozen yogurt such a global phenomenon as it first became popular in South Korea and then spread to other parts of the world. There are over 50 store locations in New York City alone and counting, including the one I went to at Rego Center.

I tried out “The Original” and their recommended flavor, “Mango.” The Original was rich in flavor with a tangy edge to it, but it didn’t have that smooth, creamy texture I expected.

The Mango was a little too sweet for my palette. It had an artificial mango flavor, and was somewhat creamier than the Original. It was refreshing, but after a while it felt like I was eating frozen mango syrup. I certainly preferred the Original over the Mango which is ironic considering the name of the shop.

The atmosphere itself was modern. At the Red Mango I went to, it was relaxing with friendly service. There were eight self-serve froyo choices at Rego Center lined up on one side. Some notable flavors are “Nutty Potion No. 9” which is made with Nutella, “Mint Cookie,” and  “Cinnamon Apple Pie.” The toppings bar was adjacent to the machines. There was a variety of fresh fruits, nuts, candies, and syrups including crushed graham crackers, marshmallow sauce, and raspberries. The froyo cost 59¢ per ounce and is the most expensive of the three stores I visited.

Yogo Monster

Yogo Monster was created in 2008 in Brooklyn. Today, there are three store locations: two are in Brooklyn, and one is on Austin Street, where I visited.

The flavors I tasted were “Original” and “Mango.” Yogo Monster’s Original had a strong milk flavor to it as opposed to a sour yogurt flavor like that of Red Mango. It was velvety and smooth like soft ice cream. It was also not too sweet, but I would probably say Red Mango’s Original was better.

However, the Mango at Yogo Monster was exceptionally delicious. It had a more authentic mango taste and it had a similar texture to that of the Original. The Mango was also not dominated by sweetness, yet it managed to have an appetizing, rich flavor.

The location I went to was also self serve with eight different flavors at the back of the store such as “Green Tea,” “Peach,” and “Blueberry.” There was a decent sized fresh toppings bar to the side which included gummy bears, coconut, M&Ms, and many more. The yogurt here is also charged by weight and is 49¢ per ounce. The little store is cozy yet current. There are several seats in the store and some outside on a balcony. The service could’ve been a  better as it was stingy when it came to samples, but it’s the taste of the yogurt that counts.

Berrylicious

Berrylicious is a kosher froyo shop that opened about a year ago. Today there are 6 locations, all of which are in New York. The one I visited is not too far from Townsend Harris, located at the intersection of Main Street and Jewel Avenue.

I got the “Original Tart” and “Birthday Cake.” The Original Tart here was unique. It did not have a powerful flavor, but it had a peculiar fruity grape taste, which I did not expect, though it was still tasty in its own way. It had a good balance of sweet and sour. The texture was not creamy or thick, but it was smooth.

The Birthday Cake tasted like a vanilla-wonderland. It had the perfect amount of flavor and sweetness. It was suave and light and among the best dessert-based froyos I’ve ever had.

Berrylicious has a fun, bright, inviting atmosphere. It is self serve and has 16 flavors to choose from like “Bubble Gum,” “Snickerdoodle,” and “Island Banana.” They also have a wide variety of wholesome fruits, nuts, and syrups to accessorize your froyo.  There are sprinkles, Ghirardelli chocolate syrup, and candy corn. The price here is 49¢ per ounce like Yogo Monster, but the service seemed kinder since they didn’t give an attitude.

16 Handles

16 Handles is famous for having a large number of choices every time you go. It has 25 locations around New York. I got my yogurt fix from the Queens Center Mall location.

Here, I had “Original Tart” and “Birthday Cake.” The Original Tart was distastefully sour- so much in fact that my friend couldn’t even finish a small sample. The word tart really sums up this particular flavor. To top it all off, the froyo was watery and lacked that soft, milky quality.

The Birthday Cake was not as pleasing as that of Berrylicious. It also tasted like a vanilla cake, but it was so strong that it seemed less genuine and more processed. It just didn’t have the same warm, happy, fuzzy feeling. It was also too sweet, but it did have a delightful, buttery feel to it when you put it in your mouth.

16 Handles has a funky, contemporary setting with vivid colors everywhere. The self serve area contains 16 flavors from “Strawberry Banana” to “Tiramisu” and it has more than double the number of nuts, candies, syrups, and a few fruits as toppings. For example, they have cheesecake bites, mochi, lychee, and most memorably, hot fudge. The service is splendid and froyo here is charged at 52¢ per ounce.

So when it comes to the sweet stuff Yogo Monster is the way to go.  Their froyos are a delicious frozen treat, without freezing your wallet. Berrylicious is also a good choice due to the yummy but inexpensive yogurt and the proximity to Townsend. Next time you’re craving for some froyo, check out these places!

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