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Food

swUrL Up a Dream, Just Keep it Fruity

Posted by Greg / August 7, 2011

20110811_Swurl-frozen-yogurt.jpgI had no idea what to expect when I sampled the frozen yogurt at swUrL. That day, they were holding a big event to celebrate the premiere of their bacon flavor. Bacon frozen yogurt?!? Sure, bacon goes wonderfully with sweet things, including ice cream, but the idea of frozen yogurt with bacon specks pouring out of a soft serve nozzle was hard for me to imagine. All they told me was, "Come with an appetite and an open mind!"

So on that early-Summer day, I gathered my appetite, an open mind and my friend, Adrian, and headed to swUrL on Crescent street, only to be greeted by a guy in a full pig costume standing outside the door. So I guess there were, um, kind of pushing the bacon flavor... which was really too bad, because my experience trying swUrL showed that they have a lot going for them, but one of those things was definitely not bacon-flavored frozen yogurt. Made entirely without meat (i.e., with a bombardment of chemicals I can only imagine), the bacon flavor really just tasted like liquid smoke and a pinch of salt mixed into plain yogurt with a dash of disgustingly pink food coloring. The best thing about it? They only kept the flavor for a week, like all of their special concoctions, and now it is long gone.

This is a very good thing, because everything else at swUrL was fantastic. I especially enjoyed the mango and blood orange flavors, both with very natural tastes that showed a lot of depth and subtlety. In order to cut the sweetness (which was not overbearing, I just don't like an abundance of sweetness) I put both fruit flavors on a bed of plain frozen yogurt before jumping to the toppings.20110807-Swurl1.JPGThis is where swUrL gets really interesting. I didn't even realize this before I was inside, but swUrL is one of those places like Yeh! where you dump a crazy number of toppings on your frozen yogurt and pay by weight. Whether this actually maintains the supposed health value of eating frozen yogurt is another story, but hey, I'll leave that question to people who are actually on diets.20110807-Swurl2.JPGSince the selection was a little overwhelming, and I didn't want to detract from the lovely fruit flavors, I went with a simple sprinkling of chocolate Oreo cookie pieces and a few fresh raspberries and blackberries. The end result was a fruity-chocolatey bowl of goodness.20110807-Swurl3.JPGWhat better for cooling off in this completely obscene heat? I suggest checking out swUrL, just be wary of any strange sounding novelty flavors and go straight for the fruit.

A Second opinion from Amie: I was supposed to check out this bacon frozen yogurt event at swURL too, so I decided to do some undercover research, and by that I mean go get some frozen yogurt a week in advance...

As a lactose-intolerant person I'm picky about where I eat ice cream. Yes it's masochistic to fill my belly with dairy that will, inevitably, make me somewhere between "a little stomach sick" and "very, very sorry I ate that, no matter how delicious it was", but it's so delicious! And frozen yogurt has this health rep that pushes the whole "healthy bacteria" thing; it's actually supposed to be easier to digest (I can eat decent amounts of "raw" cheeses and probiotic yogurts without feeling sick). Except, as with regular yogurt, the amount of helpful bacteria makes all the difference. If there are relatively few bacteria involved, my stomach will be on the warpath.

Don't get me wrong - I love gelato, I'm addicted to tiramisu, and carrot cake is one of the best things invented, but I need to pick my digestive battles. So I went to Swurl with an arsenal of questions re: yogurt.

What I found out:

1. All the frozen yogurts are made from "base" mixes, which is pretty standard in terms of commercial frozen desserts. Ingredients include hard-to-pronounce things that are definitely not just yogurt, sugar, and fruit.

2. Yes the yogurts are fat free, but that means more additives and strange ingredients to cut out the fat and maintain some kind of flavour. It's the same as frozen yogurts you buy in the grocery store but it's soft serve and you get to pull it from the machine, which is fun.

3. No one working there at the time knew how much probiotic bacteria and which types were in the yogurt (not that a lot of people ask this question). Turns out that because the yogurt is frozen the probiotics are potentially less effective anyway, which is probably why I got sick the one time I tried Yeh!

4. Speaking of Yeh!, the biggest selling factor for Swurl over Yeh! is that they use different base mixes, meaning not all their frozen yogurts essentially taste the same but with some blueberry flavouring or mango flavouring added.

5. The toppings are great (except maybe the sauces, which, again, are a little more preservative-y than you'd hope). You know the chocolate bars, chocolate chips, wafers, and candies aren't exactly good for you, but you can top your fat-free ice cream with all those extra calories you just saved, right? And there are All-Bran buds for the people who actually think this is "healthy". Basically you could eat the frozen yogurt with that topping for breakfast. There's also granola but that's a bunch of delicious sugar and oil (though I seem to recall it saying it was gluten-free. Must be oat-free?).

6. I asked if any of the fresh fruit was organic and no, it's not. That's to be expected, but apparently they used to have organic raspberries! Except they kept getting squished and going bad, so they switched to non-organic. You probably don't want to know how the non-organic ones stay so plump and strong, though...

7. It's expensive. Both Swurl and Yeh! Frozen Yogurt broke my heart with how much a container of a few from-a-mix yogurts could be when combined with a scant amount of toppings. It's such a tease to have so much in front of you, but end up paying $6 or $8 for a single portion (well, an enormous portion size, but an individual container).

So this is a good place to come for dessert if you've got some cash, want a frozen treat but don't want to buy something at the grocery store made with equally as difficult-to-pronounce, but fat-free ingredients, and want to select from a broad range of candy and sauce toppings instead of buying a bag of oreos to break into your dessert. It's soft serve, so it's smoother than grocery store-bought options, and it's nice to sit on Crescent and people-watch with your frozen yogurt. As Greg wrote, maybe stick with the safe flavours. And just don't think you're doing your body a favour. This is a treat. If you want real food you're better off with a high-fat, preservative-free ice cream or an all-natural sorbet."

swUrL is located at 1464 rue Crescent

Discussion

6 Comments

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