by Chrysa Smith

I don’t know about your neighborhood, but here in the Philly burbs, there is a reborn phenomenon.

It’s frozen yogurt.

Nothing new you say? Well, it’s been popular since perhaps the 70’s or 80’s. I can remember when soft serve machines could now give you something that seemed healthier than ice cream—at least the name–mainly in two flavors: vanilla and chocolate. And of course, a greater variety has been available in grocery store freezers ever since. But what is new, is how frozen yogurt stores are popping up all over. In one week’s errands, within what I might guess is a 10 mile radius, I counted five new shops.

The other difference, as you might guess, is the variety. At one store (Love It! Frozen Yogurt), they boasted 21 flavors. That’s probably more than most ice cream shops have in the case at any given time. And what’s more, you can blend whatever you like, in whatever size you’d like, because you serve yourself.

That’s right. It’s cafeteria style. Machines line the walls, flavors labelled. Cups of various sizes are lined up. Take what you like and like a salad bar, go have it weighed. Then enjoy.

What I like about this is three-fold. For one, you can determine how much you will eat. For those of us who are calorie conscious (and who among us isn’t?), you can go out for a cold treat and not crash the calorie count.

Secondly, you can mix and match favorite flavors at will. When someone else serves me, I’m a bit more conservative about my mixes. I think with this system, because the machines and flavors are there for you to play with, it’s more tempting to mix non-traditional flavors.

Finally, there are so many more low-fat and non-fat options–further helping the waistline. And if calories aren’t of concern, or you’re headed to the gym, add on some of the many toppings to truly make it your own.

Why now? Why yogurt? I’m still investigating. Maybe like our music, our movies, our tv shows—-marketing geniuses have reinvented something from our era and repackaged it all over again for our kids and grandkids. Or maybe people just like going out for a frozen treat and having a place to eat and gather? Maybe both.

My taste buds were tempted at Love It! Frozen Yogurt in Jamison, PA.

Check out a store near you.