“I wish I could go out for a frozen yogurt,” were words that left my lips just a few days ago. Not a sorbet, a real creamy, soft serve frozen yogurt. It was a foreshadowing moment; within 24 hours, on August 8th 2013, I received word that TCBY had partnered with Silk to launch the nation’s first dairy-free frozen yogurt. I was online in seconds to find out if there was a TCBY in my local area, and as luck would have it, there was!
Tony, Kylie and I made the short trek yesterday – yes, the gummy bear topping is definitely our resident teen’s fro yo – and were all presently surprised by this delicious chocolate almond milk treat. Kylie, who can have dairy and has very recent memories of dairy ice cream, couldn’t believe her taste buds. “I expected it to taste weird, but it is really, really good.” Tony and I concurred, this fudgsicle-like dairy-free frozen yogurt is worth a return trip. As expected, it was lighter than ice cream, almost like a spoonable frosty, but still rich and luxurious. The spot-on chocolate soft serve flavor had notable hints of almond for a perfect compliment.
The shop owners at our local Reno TCBY, Vince & Marlene, were actually onsite that day, and were extremely accommodating with all of our questions. Here are some of the details:
Is it soy-free? Yes! The new flavor is an almond milk-based chocolate, created by Silk. It is not only a dairy-free frozen yogurt, but also soy-free, gluten-free, and vegan. Dairy free also means lactose-free, so this is a great option for lactose intolerant frozen yogurt lovers.
What about the probiotics? Like all TCBY flavors, the dairy-free frozen yogurt has 7 live and active cultures. Perhaps this is why my tummy still felt tame even after devouring the monster serving (and we got smalls!).
Is it really dairy-free? The equipment is thoroughly sanitized between batches, so you shouldn’t get any dairy-filled frozen yogurt in your sundae, unless there is one in the partner dispenser that you opt to have swirled in. Vince opted to keep the entire section dairy-free, with the option to swirl in a sorbet frozen yogurt! Ingenious really.
Is it safe for severe milk allergies? What about cross-contamination? Alas, TCBY does serve dairy frozen yogurt, and they don’t currently have plans for a dedicated dairy-free machine (request it!), so cross-contamination is a real possibility. As mentioned, they do fully clean the machines between batches, but the risk for trace amounts of dairy still exists, particularly if there is a dairy option in the neighboring flavor. Encourage your local TCBY to park their dairy-free sorbet next to the Silk Chocolate Almond, when serving, but still be aware that it still may not be safe for severe, life-threatening milk allergies. Though I do have a casein (milk protein) allergy myself, I can tolerate trace amounts without concern. Neither Tony nor Kylie has a dairy issue, but their tummies still appreciate this dairy-free frozen yogurt.
Will it be available every day? Since many shop owners have a limited number of machines (the Reno store could only dish up 6 different options at once), the Silk Chocolate Almond may rotate out of the line-up at times. Call ahead or check online (many of the stores post their current flavors) if you don’t want to chance a trip. That said, they will pack any leftovers into pints available in the cold case, and plan to feature the dairy-free frozen yogurt often.
Are there dairy-free toppings? Toppings are up to your local TCBY, so they may vary by location. All should have a good selection of fruits, nuts, and candies. They do not keep a list of ingredients for toppings online, so inquire locally about which toppings are dairy-free, there may be a few surprises!
Will there be more dairy-free frozen yogurt flavors? We hope! Vince said he is pushing for a vanilla, and it sounds like there may be some talk about additional flavors, if the demand is there. He also wants to see a hard-pack option. The Reno TCBY store, like many others, has a hard-pack section that costs just $1.49 per scoop.
The bottom line is: Go, buy it! The more the demand the more likely that they may come out with other dairy-free frozen yogurt flavors and keep a permanent place for a non-dairy and vegan option. I know our household will be supporting this new dairy-free frozen yogurt with our dessert allowance. See the TCBY Website for a store locator.
To promote their new dairy-free frozen yogurt endeavor, TCBY and Silk have announced “The Perfect Match” campaign on social media, complete with a sweepstakes! Fans are encouraged to join in the celebration by posting to social media, utilizing the #TCBYPerfectMatch hashtag, and by entering the “You + Beach = The Perfect Match” sweepstakes for the chance to win a trip for two to a Caribbean destination of their choice, including airfare, three-night hotel accommodations, and $500 spending cash. The sweepstakes will run through August 22nd, 2013. In addition to the Caribbean getaway, weekly winners will receive iPad Minis and daily winners will receive $25 TCBY gift cards. More information is available via The Perfect Match Facebook app.