Yoco Froyo is sure to be a hit. I can just feel it. It has a Yorkville address, fat-free options, and an area monopoly on a thriving sweet trend. Were it five years ago, I'd say cupcakes would be the ticket, but now it's self-serve frozen yogurt. And Yoco's got it.
In a lower level space on Cumberland Street, it first occurred to me that Yoco might be infringing on Summer's territory. And perhaps it is. But frozen yogurt is indeed a different animal (or dessert) than the typical scoop-and-serve parlour. While Summer's might tote that classic old-school parlour charm, Yoco has a bit of an urban Candyland vibe, LED menu boards and all.
The owner's daughter, Nancy, tells me her father was looking to open a shop somewhere in Toronto for the past year. "My uncle has a store called 'Yomii' in Florida," she says as we take a seat on the leather couch beyond the self-serve machines. "We modeled this store after my uncle's place."
Opened about one month ago, Yoco offers 10 flavours of frozen yogurt from a roster of about 30. The staples — original, chocolate, and vanilla — are typically available on any given day, with other varieties such as cheesecake, sugar-free cappuccino, and dairy-free raspberry switching out on a daily basis.
Nancy tells me she and the team tasted endless different concoctions before settling on the Yoco blend. With most of the dairy options made with skim milk, Yoco combines dry yogurt powder with naturally sourced flavourings from Italy to make its frozen yogurt on location. The yogurt can then be topped with all sorts of candies, sauces, fresh fruits and more, priced at $0.55 per ounce with the option of a waffle cone for an extra $1.
Now, I know that froyo lore says that powder-based frozen yogurt isn't typically as good as the liquid yogurt-based stuff, but I was actually quite impressed with the samples I tasted at Yoco. First was the original flavour, which had a clean, smooth texture and tasted just as bona fide frozen yogurt should. Next was chocolate — more of a treat with an extra bit of sweetness. But my favourite was the dairy-free raspberry, which had an authentic "raspberry" flavour (albeit, somewhat "candied") with a few seeds throughout.
All of the flavours have the fat content listed above the nozzle (this is Yorkville, after all), and of course, are all self-serve. (The cups are huge, in characteristic self-serve froyo fashion, so the trigger-happy should be careful). The shop also offers bubble tea and smoothies, as well as some outdoor seating, several tables inside, and free WiFi. Yes, Yorkville, your froyo has arrived.
Photos by Morris Lum