sampling flavors of the frozen yogurt scene…

This week, I had the pleasure of doing the most delicious kind of errand: checking out some of the Boston Area’s most amazing frozen yogurt shops, sampling toppings, special flavors, and cooling off with the light, refreshing treat. Frozen yogurt hit the scene a couple years ago, with the advent of Pinkberry, the Los Angeles-based FroYo Chain, in 2005, and has made a real splash on the Boston local food scene.

The first stop on my tasting-spree was Berryline, a local business started by two former MIT students, who were inspired to call their business ‘Berryline’ in honor of the Boston Subway ‘Lines’, in 2007. I chose to visit the flagship location, tucked into an adorable location on Arrow Street in Harvard Square, but I also could have chosen to visit the Porter Square, Newbury Street, or Fenway locations. As I entered the whimsically decorated and wonderfully air-conditioned little space, the sheer number of fresh-looking toppings available, along with three yogurt flavor choices, blew me away. Original, a tart, zippy, classic yogurt flavor, is available everyday, while two other “special” flavors change daily. Some favorites include Taza Chocolate, Lavender-Honey, Peach Ginger, Coconut-Lime, and Fruity Pebbles.

Yogurt flavors and toppings options are updated daily for each location on the Berryline website if you’re inclined to take stock of your options before visiting. I choose to sample an original flavor with blueberries, sliced almonds, and mochi, a sweet Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice and formed at Berryline into little round balls that make a surprisingly delicious topping. This ended up being a perfect combination – the crunchy sliced almonds, fresh-tasting blueberries bursting with flavor, and sweet, chewy nuggets of mochi. I could easily imagine going back for an even healthier choice – just fruit and nuts and yogurt – or a more decadent one – Lavender-Honey with caramel chips perhaps. Berryline is more than prepared to handle any variety of froyo craving.

The next stop on my adventure was BoYo Natural Frozen Yogurt, located at the Charles River Plaza, by the Charles/MGH Redline stop in Boston. Near the some of the most beautiful sections of the Charles River, and a quick jaunt from the historic (and delicious!) North End, traveling to BoYo is a pleasure, especially on a picturesque summer evening, like the one I ventured to Boston on. BoYo is decorated in pastels, smiley faces, and balloon-like shapes, which makes walking the store feel like going into the most amazing kid’s birthday party of all time. Unlike Berryline, BoYo offers Gelato, Ice Cream, Sorbet, and such delicacies as ‘Frozen Yogurt Pie’, as well as a daily-rotating selection of three frozen yogurt flavors.

If possible, BoYo offers even MORE toppings than I saw at Berryline, including mini marshmallows, agaves nectar, Cap’n Crunch, pineapple, and nutella. After experiencing a brief paralysis in the face of so many mouth-watering choices, I went for something a little less healthy this time – I wanted to try to order my frozen yogurt like a kid would – and got the Oreo frozen yogurt with rainbow sprinkles and M&Ms. What I got was a decadent delight that felt a little less virtuous and a little more indulgent than my choice at Berryline The frozen yogurt was cold and sweet, the M&Ms crunchy, and the rainbow sprinkles jived well with BoYo’s cute interior. Next time, I’ll bring a friend and eat my yogurt on the banks of the Charles.

In addition to these two great stores, Local Pickins recommends checking out Mixx Frozen Yogurt in Allston or Wooberry Yogurt in Worcester, for those looking to get their frozen yogurt fix west of Boston. Mixx was closed the day that Local Pickins tried to visit, due to a power outage, but luckily is already open for business again. A prior visit to Mixx by a taster, reported choosing a healthy route and loving an acai blueberry and strawberry combo, no toppings included. Why anyone would choose not to dabble in a crunchy little topping of some sort, is beyond me. But I’ll be stopping by Mixx, sooner rather than later, for my own taste of their frozen delight, sprinkled with an array of miniature confections!

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