Truth be told, I love our Buttermilk Frozen Yogurts (known to us as BFYs) more than anything else we make. That’s been true since I created the first prototype back in 1996, and it’s why they’ve been on my lineup since my first experimental days in The North Market.
Let me tell you why I make these yogurts the way I do. When I was little and living in Illinois in the early ’80s, our family would head to O’Hare airport to pick up friends from Germany (my father had been stationed there in the early 1970s). Though I was pretty dang young, maybe 7, I recall the yogurt guy like it was yesterday. He would stand outside of the airport terminal with a bag full of frozen yogurts. No joke, it was real yogurt—cups of real raspberry yogurt, simply frozen. I remember getting this yogurt and opening the cup. That’s literally my only memory of the place. I don’t recall actually picking up our friend or anything else. It was that good. I grew up loving yogurt. My mom used to make this amazingly simple pie—it was my favorite ever. Just whipped, sweetened cream and raspberry yogurt folded together and plopped into a buttered graham crust, then frozen. It was always my favorite dessert. Recipe here.
When I began making ice creams, I knew that a real frozen yogurt had to be on my lineup. I like to refer to them as yogurt, frozen. I wanted something far, like galaxies away, from what we know now as “frozen yogurt”—the crappy stuff that is really just dehydrated frozen yogurt mix. Just add water or skim milk. Bleck. Why even?
I wanted frozen yogurt that captures the beauty of fresh cultured dairy and accentuates fruits’ natural tartness. I love the flavors of dairy—I’m pretty sure whole milk runs in my veins at this point—but I adore cultured and fermented dairy products best of all. This is what led us to add buttermilk to the recipe a few years ago. I thought our frozen yogurts couldn’t get any better, but buttermilk thickens these yogurts and lends crazy body. It’s beautiful. Adding fluid (not dried!) organic yogurt from Seven Stars Farm in Pennsylvania (legit yogurt makers) gives it tang and a bit of sourness. And every flavor is rounded out with cream, and grass-grazed milk, and lots of fruit juice, pulp, and/or puree.
Our BFYs separate the lions from the kittens in terms of ice cream makers. They are the opposite of attention-grabbing, marketing genius, or trendy products. They are nothing short of nuanced, humble, uber creamy, and everything you ever wanted in a tart frozen treat. They take a solid, strong understanding of real ice cream making, and true belief in the craft of making ice cream, not just the thrill of the next flavored ice cream base.
They are, quite simply, amazing. They are blow-your-mind beautiful. And I have loved them for 20 years without ever tiring of them. In the summer, I serve our Lemon BFY instead of vanilla ice cream on everything from rhubarb crisp to peach pie to birthday cake.
These yogurts also represent our methodology as a company. We never stop tinkering, learning, and trying to make things better. Our yogurts, like so many other ice creams, have gotten better over the years because we are never satisfied. We challenge everything we do always.
In reality, we wouldn’t call our BFYs “frozen yogurts” if we didn’t have to. But we are bound by federal standards to call any frozen ice cream product with even a drop of yogurt in it “frozen yogurt.” That is so unfortunate because our BFYs are not like any frozen yogurt you have had before. They are not meant to be free of anything. They are not meant to fit into any prefab category. They are not meant to sell you on one of many dubious health benefits. Every ingredient has a purpose that results in a full-flavored, full-bodied frozen yogurt.
What else can I say, except to try one. I recommend on a wafer cone. Please do. You’ll love them.