Chil Frozen Yogurt

8:12 AM

Self-serve frozen yogurt bars are majorly on trend right now. Just look at the hoards of hungry students shivering in, wearing mitts and scarves, ready to fork out top dollar in the dead of winter for an icy bowl of chilly yogurt. The combination of perceived healthfulness, relaxed atmosphere, and utter customizability is pretty enticing.

What if most bowls of trendy frozen yogurt are not as healthy as you think?

With added sugar, chemical preservatives and a bevy of sweet confections at your finger tips, some of these fro-yo joints are a glorified candy aisle at the grocery store. So paying $8 for a snack-size bowl doesn't seem right.

Don't worry - help is on the way. Someone out there is doing it right.

Chil Frozen Yogurt Bar has spun the mainstream version of this treat on its head and is making self-topped frozen yogurt bowls truly healthy. Located at Richmond and Hyman in London, the joint boasts ample indoor space with a hip, but not trying too hard, feel as well as a seasonal patio that I imagine will be packed. They opened in September of this year. After sampling their array, I am all too excited to share with you how Chil is doing fro-yo differently.

  • Organic Greek yogurt. Not the watered down stuff that other places serve, barely fulfilling the minimum requirements to be considered yogurt. Chil's greek yogurt has the water drained out, leaving a creamy, thick, high-protein product that is so pure and real it takes an hour to melt. (For a change.)
  • No harsh additives. Forget artificial flavours and colours - with a background in natural health, one of Chil's co-owners explained to me that only the best and most natural will do. The maple frozen yogurt is made with real maple syrup. The soy vegan yogurt is certified organic soy which is of utmost importance when talking about soy. The other co-owner, Kevin says "We don’t believe in adding any artificial flavors, artificial colours, artificial sweeteners, water, fillers, chemicals, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids or corn sweeteners of any kind to our yogurt." Refreshing.
  • Excellent healthy selection. At time of counting there were 117 toppings to choose from. Yogurt selection doesn't drop below 8, and vegan's can enjoy at least 3 of them. I only noticed one frozen yogurt that contained gluten (the Bailey's flavour) so Celiac's can rest easy too.
  • Better toppings. I chose to enjoy a serving of pomegranate, a handful of carob chips, a sprinkling of raw walnuts, some unsweetened coconut shavings and a shake of black sesame seeds. Also on the menu: dark chocolate peanut butter cups, organic museli, quinoa seeds, rock salt, Sriracha hot sauce, and flaxmeal. Go nuts!
  • Local sourcing. The owners do their best to find everything possible through London-and-area farmers. 
  • Independent ownership. Unlike the big name shops you think of when you hear 'frozen yogurt bar', Chil's company is run entirely by the folks you see hanging out by the hazelnut sauce.
As both a holistic nutritionist and a discerning foodie I recommend this place to anyone within driving distance. They are open seven days a week from 12 noon until midnight @ 620 Richmond & Hyman, downtown London and can be liked on Facebook here.

Update: they open at 11am now! (May 2014)

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