Catch Up on the Fro-Yo Craze in the Bay Area

Watch out, Miyo. Everyone knows that the new hype is all about frozen yogurt, and “froyo” stores seem to be popping up around the Bay Area every day.

The frozen yogurt craze started in 2005, when Shelly Hwang and Young Lee opened Pinkberry. Tangy, cold, creamy and sweet, frozen yogurt offers every good quality of ice cream but none of its sins.

Although some people eat frozen yogurt for the health benefits, others enjoy frozen yogurt simply for the fun of swirling flavors together and then adding the toppings they want. And the toppings aren’t the same as Coldstone Creamery’s Mix-ins either. On top of candies, nuts, fruit and cookies, most frozen yogurt shops also offer a greater selection of toppings, including jellies, lychee, mango, mochi, cereal and cheesecake bits.

Although frozen yogurt stores may offer fewer flavors than Baskin Robbins, but combined with the toppings, the varieties are endless. Also, in self-serve frozen yogurt stores, the customers can swirl in any flavors they desire into a cup, while in ice cream stores the customer is allowed only one flavor per scoop.

Practically any frozen yogurt store that is able to survive the competition in the Bay Area is at least decent. However, there are a few that no frozen yogurt connoisseur can miss.

It is absolutely necessary for any real frozen yogurt lover to try Fraîche. This small shop, located in Palo Alto Downtown at 644 Emerson Sreet, Suite 110, makes its own organic yogurt and even has a soy version for those who are vegan.

Although Fraîche may be pricier compared to other stores around the Bay Area (5 ounces cost $2.95 and each topping is $.95), the quality of the yogurt surpasses that of any other store.

On top of being a perfect mixture of creamy and tart, the frozen yogurt also retains its shape because it melts slowly. The store carries three flavors: natural, chocolate and soy. Its granola is sweet, crispy, perfectly toasted, and handmade, and the fruit is always fresh.

However, Tartini Frozen Yogurt Bar is the place to be when one feels like mixing flavors together and adding a variety of toppings. Located at 20488 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Suite 2040 in Cupertino, the store currently has eight flavors, including some unique ones like lychee, pistachio and guava.

At Tartini’s, customers can pick between at least 40 toppings, including cheesecake bits, cookie dough, extremely fresh fruit and crunchy cereal. There is also a variety of syrups to add, such as condensed milk, white chocolate, milk chocolate, honey and dulce de leche.

The store also offers a great ambiance of pop music, an extremely clean environment and cool lights. Also, at $.30 an ounce, yogurt of such quality can’t be found anywhere else for such a cheap price.

However, when a frozen yogurt lover wants a quick fix, Yumi Yogurt is the perfect shop to go to. Located at 3787 Stevens Creek Boulevard in Santa Clara, the flavors the store carries are updated constantly. Many are very creative, such as chocolate crème brûlée and butterscotch.

A child cup costs $3.75, while a petite cup costs $4.00. The child cup is so large that two people can share it. The texture of the yogurt is very rich and creamy.

Toppings are $1.00 each. The shop doesn’t have as large a variety of toppings as do most other stores around, but it does carry different types of fresh fruit, granola, sprinkles, gummy bears and the like. The atmosphere of the shop is like that of an eatery, with gumball machines, checkered floor and small tables.

Consider yourself lucky to live in the Bay Area, where frozen yogurt shops are nearly as common as Starbucks. It doesn’t seem like the popularity of frozen yogurt will melt anytime soon, so take a shot at frozen yogurt and you may as well get hooked.