1. The land of yogurt
Several locations; yogurt-land.com
The self-serve aspect is one of the best things about going to Yogurtland. Finding your favorite flavor, putting a mug under the spout, and pulling the big metal lever to get just the right amount (and sometimes mix varieties) is fun. Then there is the question of deciding whether to buy candy, granola, or fruit toppings.
âWe are honored to be named to the Top 3 as we celebrate our 15th anniversary,â said Brittany Knollmiller, Senior Director of Marketing for Yogurtland. “Yogurtland was founded in Orange County and it’s wonderful that our homeland continues to see us as a must-see place to celebrate, meet and connect with loved ones over a frozen treat.”
Many flavors are seasonal and tailored to specific regions. The website allows customers to enter a zip code or location and find out what’s available.
Last spring, Yogurtland unveiled a plant-based oatmeal cinnamon cookie flavor, the first made from oat milk. Knollmiller says that âcustomers interested in trying a vegan flavor as the weather started to heat upâ really liked having this option. The cookie dough was also a hit, she says.
Over the summer, Yogurtland showcased a fruit-inspired line with fusions of fresh fruit bowls and acai bowls. “This fall, we’re excited to introduce a new take on our cold brew flavor and a new holiday-inspired pie flavor.”
2. Handel’s homemade ice cream
Multiple locations, handelsicecream.com
Handel’s tradition dates back to the 1940s, when Alice Handel sold ice cream at her husband’s gas station in Youngtown, Ohio, using fresh fruit from her garden. Since then, the company has expanded beyond its Midwestern base to include California and a few other states.
Handel COO Jim Brown said the staff were “aware of the regional flavors”, while keeping the flavor profiles exciting and consistent with the schedule to “keep people coming back”.
Ice cream and yogurt are prepared daily on site using Handel’s exclusive methods and recipes. Each batch is made in specially designed freezers to create a smooth texture. Pints ââand pints are also available for purchase.
Yelp reviewer Vicki L. from Irvine had the Orange Dream cream and wrote “it was absolutely delicious – the right mix of fruity, creamy and the portion was surprisingly large”.
Brown says, âWe have been doing this for 76 years and we are a particularly specialized company. We’re only doing one thing, so we better do it right.
3. Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt
Multiple locations, @goldenspoonmissionviejo (Instagram)
Nutrition has always been the key to Golden Spoon’s appeal. Founder Jeff Barnes started the business in 1983 as an affiliate of the Tustin Yogurt and Things health food store with the goal of being the premium frozen yogurt for old-school ice cream lovers.
Golden Spoon has an exclusive fat-free recipe and a healthy profile delivering what is called over 50 unique, light and refreshing tastes with a crisp finish.
Pomegranate-raspberry sorbet, sweet coconut, pistachio ice cream, chocolate malt, blackberry, and toasted marshmallow were some of the flavors available at Mission Viejo in recent months. There are also gluten-free and dairy-free offers.
Yelp reviewer Fred K. of Lake Forest said Golden Spoon is âhis family’s favorite dessert spot. How can you go wrong with flavors like pineapple pie, cookie butter, salted caramel, and black cherry pie? My wife especially loves the firm texture of most of their flavors and my kids love their toppings.