By Eleni Upah
Loosen up the belt, because it’s time for dessert. Better yet, it’s summertime dessert, which means something cool and refreshing — so maybe unbutton those pants, too. But wait a minute: the latest in soft-serve isn’t the calorie-loaded ice cream from a truck. Frozen yogurt is the favored treat of summer now, and with low fat and even a few non-fat options, it’s practically guilt-free (think 32 calories per ounce for some flavors).
Orange Leaf offers creamy, succulent flavors such as chocolate mint and coconut cake, fruity and tart flavors like mango and green apple, dairy-free pineapple and pink lemonade, and chocolate and vanilla with no sugar added. The list goes on for a total of 70 varieties, ever changing with seasonal flavors and local favorites depending on the restaurant.
Business increases by three to four times in the summers, with the refreshing fruit and citrus flavors as the most popular choices.
“We go through 80 to 120 gallons of milk, equaling about 100-plus gallons of yogurt a week,” said Orange Leaf owner and operator Alan Ruden.
It’s hard to beat that sweet, creamy taste as it melts in your mouth — the perfect end to hardy meal because, unlike dense ice cream treats, frozen yogurt is made with non-fat milk, pure cane sugar and yogurt powder as some of its primary ingredients. It feels lighter and doesn’t leave that gluttonous, sluggish feeling after consumption.
And that’s an especially good dessert quality when following up the juicy hunk of beef and draft beer of the main course.
There’s no need to skimp on the fries when frozen yogurt — with its smooth texture and juice-like flavors — is beckoning.
Although the fruity flavors have a hold on business during the summer, one savory favorite has held its own: the almighty salted caramel. It’s so popular that Ruden said he’s afraid to switch it out.
“If I take it down, (I think) I’ll get hate mail,” he said.
A decadent combination of smooth caramel flavor contrasted with a light saltiness, it’s obvious why this one has stayed on the wall for so long.
The self-serve method of frozen yogurt chains is tried and true. Because what’s better than finding that perfect concoction of flavors, only to have the satisfaction of creating it yourself? RELISH