If you love ice cream but don’t love the calorie count, Frozen Yogurt is a new craze that has swept Palo Alto, and literally, changed the Palo Alto landscape. Fraiche pioneered the way with the opening of its first Palo Alto store in June of 2007. Since then, 5 separate froyo locations have opened in Palo Alto, including a second branch of Fraiche at Stanford. All these options may be confusing, so this week we decided to review all 5 of them so read on to see what’s best for you!
Fraiche offers the fewest options, but in this case, less is more. Everything Fraiche offers is natural and delicious. From hand ground dark chocolate to locally grown fruit, Fraiche lives up to its name (yes, it is actually pronounced fresh). The menu includes both fresh yogurt (with non-fat, 2%, or whole milk) and frozen yogurt (in fat-free natural, 98% fat free valrhona chocolate and 99% fat free, lactose-free soy flavors). Soy, with its perfect texture and sweetness, is truly the best flavor but for those new to the frozen yogurt world may be intimidating. Chocolate is best for those who dislike the tartness of frozen yogurt, as a healthy option that still tastes like dessert. For a morning or afternoon snack natural frozen yogurt with strawberries or olallaberry jam is a safe bet, but we also enjoy more decadent options for an evening dessert, like chocolate frozen yogurt with brownies and chocolate shavings. The mochi is also amazing, complementing any yogurt flavor.
Red Mango is less of a local specialty, with locations in 20 different states, including nine locations in California. Red Mango only serves non-fat frozen yogurt in four different flavors: Original, Pomegranate, Tangomonium (a citrus-y flavor), and the seasonal flavor, which is currently Madagascar Vanilla. We disliked the tartness of Red Mango’s frozen yogurt, which is evident in all of the flavors. The toppings include fresh fruit as well as mochi, cereals, and chocolate, but we felt that none of these could compare with those at Fraiche.
The newest yogurt addition to Palo Alto at Stanford Shopping Center is also definitely not a local specialty, although its healthy offerings have caught on to our trends. With international locations and four separate Bay Area locations, Pinkberry is the biggest yogurt chain in Palo Alto. Pinkberry boasts a wide selection of yogurt flavors: currently Original, Pomegranate, Chocolate, Mango, Coconut and Green Tea. A big bonus is that unlike Fraiche, here you can pick as many different toppings as will fit into your cup which makes the always difficult decision of strawberries or chocolate a little easier. Pinkberry also offers a mini for just under three dollars, which is a good way to get your fix of froyo but save some money and lower the calorie count.
Although L’Amour has an interesting take, we feel that it is just not up to par with some of the other options. L’Amour is literally a frozen yogurt do-it-yourself. With a selection of 6 flavors and countless fruit, sweets, and miscellaneous toppings, L’Amour makes frozen yogurt fun. The yogurt itself, however, is not nearly as good as that in the previous three spots, and if customers choose an unwise combination of toppings (which unfortunately happens quite often), disaster and disappointment ensues. We think it’s best to leave it to the professionals. The price at L’Amour is also a deciding factor – since it is measured by weight, a customer can easily go crazy filling up their cup and experience shock at the ridiculous price. If looking for a fun dessert after dinner, L’Amour can satisfy, but is not as safe an option as many things can go wrong throughout the process.
All we can say about Culture, is that unless there is absolutely no way for you to get to any of the other 4 froyo locations, avoid Culture at all costs. Culture has no unique or different aspects, and the yogurt is way too sour. The chocolate is bearable, but really not worth the money.