Forget Ben and Jerry's. Forget Cold Stone and Marble Slab. Forget Baskin Robbins. Ice cream is out, and froyo is in.
Yep. Frozen yogurt seems to be taking over downtown Charleston, and it's not hard to see why. It's lower in fat and calories than ice cream — great if you're wary of the Freshman 15 — and it offers its consumers calcium as well as live, active cultures that are probiotic, which means they help with digestion and immunity. That will come in handy when the flu starts going around your economics class.
Frozen yogurt was first created in New England in the 1970s, but it wasn't until the '80s that people started adding more sugar and creating different flavors. That's when frozen yogurt took off, but then it hit a lull in popularity in the last decade or so. Now froyo is making a comeback as vendors use revamped recipes (mmm, cake batter) and, more importantly, give customers the resources to completely customize their serving.
Self-serve yogurt shops seem to be the trend now, and there is no shortage of them in downtown Charleston. Customers are able to fill their own cup with a chosen flavor of yogurt and top it with items like fresh fruit, cookie crumbles, and a ton of different candy. The cups are then weighed, and customers are charged by the ounce. Not only do you get exactly what you want, but it's pretty fun, too. Just remember: The more gummy bears you add, the more empty calories you're going to put in your body.
39 George St.
$4.49/small, $4.99/regular, $5.99/large (toppings included)
For the classic frozen yogurt experience, with all-natural ingredients, you can go to FreshBerry Frozen Yogurt Café on George Street. It also happens to be the oldest froyo joint on the block. They offer small, medium, or large cups in flavors like FreshBerry tart, decadent dark chocolate, vanilla (with no sugar added), acai berry, strawberry, mango, and pomegranate. You can get up to three toppings included in your order. FreshBerry also offers smoothies made from a blend of their frozen yogurt and fruit (strawberry, pineapple, mango, banana, blueberry, raspberry, kiwi, blackberry, and mandarin orange). You can also add additional fruit or a protein or fiber booster. Last on their menu are the Fresh Pops, which are made from their frozen yogurt and fruit and are under 100 calories apiece. Just a tip: Pace yourself here. Come back a few times so you can try everything, because between the Fresh Pops, the smoothies, and froyo, it's a tough decision.
315 King St.
Farther north on King Street is 32 Degrees, a self-serve frozen yogurt joint. They have 14 flavors that are available on a rotating basis and include fat free, kosher, no-sugar-added, and low-sugar selections. Seasonal flavors feature choices like Tahitian vanilla, California tart, watermelon sorbet, and snickerdoodle. And for toppings, you can pick from various fruits, sauces, nuts, and 40 different candy options. We didn't even know there were 40 different types of candy. Go for Tahitian vanilla when they have it — it will knock your socks off.
343 King St.
Not surprisingly, Yogurt Mountain is also located on King Street. This place has 16 rotating flavors, various sauces, and more than 50 toppings. Their flavors are anything but typical and include bubblegum, pumpkin pie, red velvet cupcake, and coconut. But don't worry, they have your more traditional flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry too, so you don't have to get too crazy if you don't want to. Additionally, they have sorbets and healthier options (no sugar added, fat free, low fat, etc.).