It’s A Yogurt Landslide in Birmingham

Suddenly Yogurt bars are as ubiquitous around here as coffee shops. Was there a series of seminars selling yogurt franchises as the next sure thing?

Maybe they are a sure thing. I’ve spoken with many a parent who was shocked by their tab at the end of the yogurt line. The runaway yogurt dispenser is just the beginning (there’s a special touch to having the yogurt pump stop, but it’s usually not mastered until the end of the line).Here are some things to know:

  1. Your purchase is priced by weight. Besides yogurt,toppings will obviously add to your cost, so be mindful of the density of the toppings. A spoonful of gummy bears or syrup weighs more than sprinkles, so the smart mom sells her kids on the merits of sprinkles or – lightest of all! – whipped topping.
  2. Yogurt bars may have a dozen or more flavors, two at each serving station. Look ahead at the flavors and decide which two or three you will try; otherwise, you’ll be tempted to try a smattering of all of them, leaving you with a  mush of indistinctive flavors. If your kids love toppings, the safest bet is still probably a base of vanilla.
  3. Don’t judge a yogurt by it’s color. My kids went for a white yogurt at the beginning of the line, assuming it was vanilla. It was actually a flavor called “Tart.” Needless to say, it was not the taste they expected (there are usually sample cups available).
  4. One school of thought is to start with the small cup so you will buy a smaller serving of yogurt. Another is to get the larger cup but pull the same small-cup size serving, in order to use the remaining space to keep toppings from falling out and flavors from mixing by accident. Either strategy could work.
  5. Personally, I like the stores that have individual dispensers for each topping rather than a salad-bar style station where one topping gets dropped into another.

If you’ve got a hankering for yogurt, you have plenty of choices:

TCBY – Homewood, Pelham -TCBY was selling yogurt back when vanilla ice cream was the only soft-serve anybody knew. They showed us what we’d been missing when they introduced freshly-made waffle cones, and got us to pay extra for them. TCBY still has a server portion your yogurt and toppings for a set price (they do weigh to be certain you get your full amount). This maystill be the safest course.

Yogurt Mountain – 280 Mtn. Brook, Hwy 150 & Lee Branch, Hoover – Who wouldn’t want to summit a mountain made of yogurt? And that’s what they offer – mountains of yogurt, especially if you don’t release the handle in time.

TYS (Treat Your Self) – Patton Creek, 280 – It sounds so decadent to Treat Your Self, only for moms it’s always treat the kids, treat their accompanying friends, and then – if there’s anything left in your wallet – treat yourself.

32 Degrees – Crestline, Summit – Somebody had to have the most mysterious sounding name in the frozen (get it?) yogurt category.

Yogurt Lab, Vestavia -It’s a laboratory all right, and creating your perfect flavor combination is half the fun.

Red Mango – Hwy 31 Hoover, Shops of Cahaba Grand – Red Mango’s claim to distinction is that it is made from natural ingredients and flavors and includes probiotics. Jamie Lee Curtis has certainly educated us on the importance of probiotics in the digestive system, although the yogurt offerings at Red Mango are much more glamorous that the little cell-pack cups from the grocery.

Grab a cup, pull the handle, and enjoy!