Great Taste with the Illusion of Health: Yogurtland Review
What’s cold and creamy; entices with flavors like pistachio, white chocolate macadamia and peanut butter; features calcium, vitamins, probiotics and live active cultures; comes from a kosher-certified facility and has only 30 calories an ounce? Fat-free frozen yogurt, specifically from Yogurtland.
Founded in 2006 by Phillip Chang, the franchise started with one store in Southern California, across from California State University Fullerton.As of 2012, Yogurtland boasts over 190 locations in the USA and Mexico. This review applies in general to almost any location but comes from the Brea restaurant in Orange County, Southern California.
Set in a suburban shopping center with ample parking, Yogurtland Brea greets patrons with a row of 16 spigots inset into a green tile wall proclaiming the store’s name in silver and pink. Each of the constantly changing 16 flavors gets a spout, with an extra spout between every two flavors that mixes them in one pour. Picture labels illustrate each selection.
Past the yogurt are the 48 toppings, three sauces and cashier, and facing the spigot wall are about a dozen 2-4 person circular aluminum tables that can easily be moved together or apart, depending on the crowd. A concrete slab patio outside has an additional five 4-person tables, some topped with green umbrellas, and surrounded by small ficus trees.
If you can’t decide what flavors to get, ask for some taster cups, which allow you to sample as many selections as you need to make a choice. You can then grab a large or larger container from a pile before the spigots, travel down the line and pump as much yogurt as you want into the container. Flavors range from such standards as chocolate and vanilla; fruity combos like juicy peach tart, blue lychee bliss and taro; and more fanciful concoctions with dulce de leche, salted caramel pecan, red velvet cupcake batter and matcha green tea.
The toppings come next consisting of fruits like banana, maraschino cherries and mango; Asian goodies such as lychee, coconut flakes and mochi; nuts like walnuts, peanuts and almonds; and sweet favorites including chocolate sprinkles, mini M&Ms, peanut butter cups and gummi bears. Finally, you can cover your collection in dark chocolate, white chocolate or caramel sauce, courtesy of Ghirardelli.
Your selection is weighed and charged by the ounce. You then receive a pink or green spoon, and can either take home your creation or consume it there.
The ingredients taste as delicious as they sound with the yogurt sporting authentic flavors. The toppings seem fresh, though most probably don’t last long enough to spoil and, in fact, you may have to ask the attendants to fill an empty container or two during rush hour. If you manage to stick only with the yogurt, you’ll have a cupful of deliciousness for between 200 to 300 calories a cup, which is far less than an equivalent serving of regular ice cream.
However, it’s the toppings that get you. If you limit yourself to fruits, each ounce costs between 10 to 30 calories. But consider the calorie count that an ounce of these more flavorful additions contain:
- almonds: 160
- brownie bites: 130
- macadamia nuts: 200
- mini M&M’s: 140
- peanut butter cups: 150
- yogurt chips: 140
Unlike most folks, who pump all their yogurt into the container at once, then finish with additions at the top, I layer my yogurt and toppings. Given that the average weight of my mixes exceeds 13 ounces, it’s doubtful that I get away with less than 1,000 calories per cup.
So what if Yogurtland desserts aren’t as healthy as they’re supposed to be? They’re fun to make, offer the ultimate in freedom of choice, and taste yummy, especially on hot days. The gaggle of kids who crowd the shop agree with me.
And if you need additional incentive to visit the one nearest you, the franchise often runs special promotions throughout the year such as Hello Kitty, which decorates the spoons with the famous Japanese cartoons, or the Twelve Days of Christmas, which adds a new flavor every day before the holiday. Sign up for the You Rule club for frequent coupons awarding three free ounces with a visit.
- Welcome to Yogurtland - Get Real | Yogurtland
Yogurtland is the land of endless yogurt possibilities, where you rule the portions, the choices and the scene.