I see lots of bloggers posting ice cream recipes and I have no room for an ice cream machine in my freezer. Kinda makes me sad. You thought the real estate market was bad? Try finding space in my freezer. Geez! But not having an ice cream machine isn’t all that bad because it’s a great excuse for me to get out and try something new. Enter Menchie’s, a popular self-serve fro-yo chain from the US. Yeah they’ve been around for a while but it’s new to Canada. And for all of you Dole Whip fans out there, if you can’t get to Disney World, Disneyland or Hawaii, you’ll want to keep reading.
Frozen yogurt stores have been popping up all over Toronto. It started out with several stores all within blocks of each other on Bloor Street in The Annex and then they began to make the move uptown. I went to the Menchies on York Mills Road. The staff there were really friendly, they greeted us when we entered and offered to explain how things work.
The concept behind Menchie’s is quite simple. You start with an empty cup, select the flavors of yogurt you want and add your toppings. You can have as much or as little yogurt and toppings as you want. Not sure which flavors you’ll like, little sample cups are provided. On the day that I visited, there were about 8-10 flavors available. You also get the option to create a swirl of two different flavors on the same machine.
Oh right, the Dole Whip! Okay so those of you who like pineapple soft serve, raise your hands. Me too! On the day that I went, I was lucky enough to come across the pineapple tart flavor. It’s pretty close to the stuff you find at Disney World. It’s not quite as sweet but how often do you find pineapple ice cream anyway? Don’t forward me links for pineapple ice cream recipes – I don’t have an ice cream maker remember!
Then there’s the toppings section. I think there must have been at least 30 different toppings ranging from coconut, crushed peanut butter cups, chocolate chips, walnuts, blueberries, strawberries, sprinkles and everything in between. This is assuming of course that there’s still room in your bowl. Or you could probably just create an entire bowl just from the toppings. I won’t tell.
I like the concept of self-serve frozen yogurt. It’s probably the kid in me but I think it’s fun to mix it up and put whatever you want in your bowl. I didn’t care for all the flavors they had out and some of the swirl combinations were a bit funky – I’m not sure I’d go for a swirl of chocolate orange and peanut butter s’mores or very berry and coffee. But I loved the pineapple tart and red velvet! Just be careful how much you put in your bowl because it all goes by weight. If you get a little too excited, you could easily end up with a $10 bowl of yogurt. Fro-yo is a nice alternative to Starbucks, especially on a hot summer’s day.