FroYo, Frogurt, Yogart…whatever you call it, frozen yogurt is here to stay. I mean, it’s been around for a while—frozen yogurt was invented back in the 1970s as a healthy alternative to ice cream—but it seems to have only gained popularity in the last few years. Frozen yogurt boutique stores have popped up all over the city, nevermind the entire country, offering sweet, slightly tangy, low-calorie and low-guilt treats to the trendy and hungry. There are two different types of frozen yogurt: the original recipe, which retains yogurt’s distinctive tangy flavor thanks to the low sugar content and active yogurt cultures; and the sweeter, creamier version, which is designed to mimic ice cream. It’s the former that’s getting a surge in popularity, which can be seen in any busy neighborhood of New York these days, with the multitudes of Pinkberrys and Red Mangos and every other fro-yo stand in between.
(Personally I still love the super-sweet latter frozen yogurt variety. Give me TCBY or give me death!)
It’s easy to stop into a Pinkberry today and pick up their ubiquitous green tea frozen yogurt with fixins, but if that’s your regular summer fro-yo routine, today is definitely the day to try something different! Go to the world-famous Bloomingdale’s and check out their world-famous frozen yogurt cafe, Forty Carrots. This is the Holy Grail of frozen yogurt in New York City: Forty Carrots has been a mainstay in Bloomie’s since 1975, long before the current surge, and even the first rise, in frogurt popularity. Their bet that people would love the slightly tart frozen yogurt certainly paid off, and the restaurant has done so well they’ve recently renovated it, doubling the table space and offering light, healthy fare along with their healthy ice cream alternative. Like many other authentic frozen yogurt stands, you can get the plain flavor (that tastes a little lemony thanks to the active cultures), or try it in chocolate, peanut butter, strawberry, or—New York’s most popular flavor—coffee. And considering a small, with choice of toppings, is 10 whole ounces and runs about $4.50, it’s a bargain compared to the prices at Red Mango and the lot. (And may just be the best buy you ever find at Bloomie’s!) It’s the best place to go when power-shopping (or just window shopping!) through Bloomingdale’s, and I may take a trip even without stopping by the shoe department.
Bloomingdale’s, 1000 3rd Ave, 7th Fl
“Bloomingdale’s opened Forty Carrots in 1975 to appeal to its fashion-conscious customers with low-calorie, healthy entrees served in an upbeat casual environment. To go along with its featured salads, sandwiches, homemade carrot and bran muffins, Bloomingdale’s unveiled a new dessert it had discovered in New England, “frozen” yogurt. It was an instant hit, becoming the restaurant’s #1 selling item, and remains so today 32 years later. The store estimates over 3.2 million servings have been enjoyed by legions of frozen yogurt connoisseurs, some of whom visit the restaurant four or five times a week.”—Bloomingdale’s.com
“The shop, now found on the 7th floor of the flagship Bloomingdale’s, offers gigantic portions of their denser, creamier version of FroYo. For a tangier taste, go for plain, but if ice cream flavors pique your interested, try the butter pecan. A wide variety of toppings are available to crown your leaning towers of yogurt. Forty Carrots has grown over the years – it started as a counter with just 12 seats. In its new location they can accommodate 100, plenty of room for you and your friends to chill out after spending some time shopping.”—CBS New York
“Their tangy frogurt is slightly more calorific than Pinkberry’s (100 calories compared to Pinkberry’s 70 calories per 4-ounce serving), but immeasurably creamier and more luscious. Flavors rotate daily, and toppings range from the timeless (crushed Oreos, Gummi Bears) to the trendy (chocolate-covered goji berries, wheat germ), with, curiously, no fruit in between. But the only thing to get is a small plain ($4.50) topped with wildflower honey (an additional $1), which is everything you like about Greek yogurt and honey, times a thousand. Bonus: the cold yogurt freezes the honey into delicious, taffy-like strands.”—Serious Eats
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“But there’s nothing I like more when it comes to frozen, creamy, milk-based dessert than 40 Carrots. I will organize walks to end here, and on my way home on Friday I’m almost guaranteed to take the N train just to make sure I get a chance to go by here on my way home. The plain is alright, the mango not bad and the coffee I’ve been told by trusted sources is pretty good. Vanilla is tasty, though they rarely have it and the chocolate is good. But really if you’re not getting the peanut butter with Oreos you’re missing out. It’s the best combination out there, and considering a small (nominally 4 oz, but probably closer to 10) is more than enough, it’s a cheapish tasty treat that fills you up and makes you the envy of everyone riding the subway.”—Danny P.
“My mom introduced me to their frozen yogurt when I was little kid over 25 years ago. It is still the absolute best frozen yogurt you can find in the city, and probably anywhere. Every friend I have brought agrees and becomes addicted as well. And the portions are huge. Thanks 40 Carrots for never changing your quality!”—Alexandra C.
And if the “O.G. of Frozen Yogurt” isn’t your style, then skip the long lines at Bloomie’s and head along the N Train in the other direction, towards the border of Park Slope and Prospect Heights, for the FroYo Young Gun. Culture: An American Yogurt Company takes their yogurt seriously: whether fresh or frozen, it’s all made in-house with Hudson Valley Fresh milk and seasonal toppings. Their process and attention to quality makes their plain flavor super tart, but refreshing, and the state of their toppings—wet pecans and real maple syrup instead of crumbled Oreos and canned pineapple chunks—makes my mouth water. If you’re not into the tartness of FroYo but still want the sweet treat (with all the probiotic benefits of active yogurt cultures), try their Key Lime Pie flavor: a key lime custard mixed with crumbled graham crackers tastes just like the genuine article, but for a lot fewer calories and a lot less guilt. If you indulge in frozen yogurt today, make it a cup made with high-quality, fresh ingredients, by a local chef who wants to offer you the very best. Pinkberry can’t even come close.
331 5th Ave (between 4th St & 3rd St), Park Slope
“The secret to this house-made soft-serve is a proprietary recipe that gives the yogurt the tangy, thick quality that we love at breakfast, but that always seems to be replaced with watery sugar when dessert rolls around. Dressed up with tart key-lime custard and crumbled graham crackers, it’s good enough to compete with any ice-cream sundae in town.”—Time Out New York
“Good frozen yogurt is one of my very favorite foods, the kind that’s tart and rich in the way of good yogurt, not the over-sugared Pinkberry sort. And Culture’s is pretty remarkable, with the sweetness of fresh dairy and the tang of good yogurt and a soft, silky texture that others can’t match.”—Serious Eats
“Its yogurt, made from antibiotic- and hormone-free milk from an upstate dairy and strained in the store, is bracingly tart and incredibly fresh. The day we went, we consumed a towering cup of apricot yogurt with blueberries, maple syrup, and wet pecans, and still haven’t quite gotten over its simple, straightforward goodness.”—Village Voice
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“I’m giving Culture four stars almost entirely because of their awesome Key Lime Pie “Sundae.” I got the original yogurt flavor topped with the Key Lime Pie sauce and ground graham crackers. And it was out of this world fantastic. I was literally scraping the empty cup with my spoon it was so good.”—Victoria L.
“I always try the original flavor first at a new place, and Culture’s doesn’t disappoint. They have amazing organic flavors that rotate daily - I’ve had mango, apricot, nutella, and blackberry. Delicious, and so refreshing. The best part of Culture, though, is that when they’re putting your order together, they put some toppings at the bottom of the container so you don’t do the usual eat-all-the-toppings-right-away-and-then-not-have- any-left-at-the-end routine. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, I wish all frozen yogurt places would adopt Culture’s model.”—Claire M.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Mapto find this most recent holiday!