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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Loganberry, you're hot and you're cold...

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 8:29 AM

It took me a long time to even come near the once rapidly rolling bandwagon representing the frozen yogurt movement. In my mind, if I wanted to indulge in a frozen sweet treat, I was going to go about it with a proper amount of gluttony. This meant ice cream, or at least frozen custard, and I was going to eat as much as I darn well pleased, without concern for calories, sugar, or fat. I was not going to dance around some dainty cup of sugar-free, fat-free, hormone-free, antibiotic-free flavored ice simply to make myself feel better. Now I admit, this was probably not the right attitude to have (it certainly wasn't the healthiest), but essentially, I just didn't care for the stuff.

Then came Pinkberry. It changed everything for me. I got it then, and I began to open up to the possibilities frozen yogurt presented. It was the classic tart flavor that won me over. It was something entirely new to the world of frozen desserts, and Pinkberry did it better than anyone in existence. Silky, smooth, and creamy, with just a touch or tarty tingle on the way down. It was no surprise to me that Pinkberry had risen to celebrity status in such a short time.

To this day, I've not found a frozen yogurt experience that can match Pinkberry...but occasionally, I get the urge to venture out and test the waters at the locally owned yogurt shops. Recently, I was tempted by Loganberry off Cantrell Rd in West Little Rock. I stopped in on a slow, lazy Saturday afternoon to sample their selections. Here, a row of self-serve dispensers lines the wall, housing a dozen or so flavors. I grabbed a few paper sample cups and went to work. I probably sampled at least ten flavors while I was there and, in the end, created a personalized cup with 4-5 flavors. The classic "California tart” flavor, clearly a nod to the southern California based Pinkberry, made its way into my final potpourri of yogurts, along with the blueberry tart, caramel custard, and white chocolate mousse. Overall, I found the yogurt to be a bit on the icy side, a common problem I've encountered with frozen yogurt, with a mouth-feel that tended to be slightly grainy rather than smooth. It's not rich, as expected with frozen yogurt, but its lack of fat was made more noticeable without the proper textural composition. The flavorings were not unpleasant, and I managed to enjoy the experience, but I won't be rushing back in the near future.

Making the hot chocolate
  • Making the hot chocolate
Loganberry also offers a handful of handmade hot chocolates during the winter months. They chop the chocolate in front of you, blend and froth it with steamed milk, and serve it at a near-scalding temperature. Flavors include the Loganberry House Blend, Candy Cane, Pumpkin Spice, and Peanut Butter Cup. They've got a few slightly more exotic flavors as well. The "European" sounded particularly spectacular: 99% pure cacao, vanilla, and sugar. It was described as a thicker, rich and creamy drinking chocolate. Unfortunately, when I ordered it, the young employees simply shook their heads, stating, “Sorry, no one here knows how to make that one. Only the owner knows how, and he's not here." While I did my best to mask the gnawing annoyance within me, it probably showed a bit. Instead, I chose the "Mexican," a blend of chopped Mexican chocolate spiced with salt and pepper. It was tasty enough. I particularly enjoyed the gentle burn of pepper that stung the throat after the flavor of chocolate began to subside. It could have benefited from a richer milk product, but I wouldn't mind cuddling up with another cup on cold winter's night.

We don't have a Pinkberry in Arkansas at this point, and perhaps, with the winding down of this particular trend, we may never see one. I'm not particularly bothered by this fact; my tastes are easily satiated by Loblolly. But I imagine I'll make another attempt at frozen yogurt at some point, but if I return to Loganberry, it will probably only be for their cocoa...but next time I'll call ahead to ensure the owner is on the premises.

(Loganberry is located at 6015 Chenonceau Boulevard, Little Rock. Hours are Sun-Thu 12pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-10pm)

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