We are not, and have never been, fans of frozen yogurt, either in theory or practice. This is largely because we consider it to be to frozen dairy what cupcakes are to cake: a food that is turning New York into a convincing facsimile of a suburban mall, and largely lacking in character or purpose. So when we first read about Culture Yogurt, a frozen-yogurt purveyor that opened in Park Slope earlier this month, we were a little wary.
But initial reports were encouraging: The yogurt, which is made from antibiotic- and hormone-free milk from an upstate dairy, is strained on the premises and sold both fresh and frozen. After reading one particularly enthusiastic assessment — “I WANTED TO HAVE SEX WITH THIS YOGURT” — we headed over to Fifth Avenue.
On the day we visited, the place was staffed by co-owner Jenny Ammirati and her parents, who were filling in for an employee who had called in sick. Service was understandably a little slow, but everyone couldn’t have been more pleasant — free samples were passed across the counter, and Ammirati simultaneously gave her parents instructions, filled orders, and bantered with her line of customers.
Culture offers two frozen-yogurt flavors, plain and a daily special. On the day we were there, it was apricot, so we ordered it in a Vermont Maple, which came with blueberries, maple syrup, and, at the bottom, candied pecans bathing in even more maple syrup. A small cost $4.25, and was served in bountiful proportions.
While we don’t harbor onanistic fantasies of Culture’s yogurt, it did move us to utter appreciative profanities in the middle of a sidewalk crowded with small children. Because, yeah, it was that good. The yogurt’s flavor was clean, fresh, and bracingly tart, and, as advertised, did indeed taste like apricots. The blueberries were fat and sweet, and the maple syrup rich and spicy. The pecans underneath functioned as buried treasure; extra points to Culture for its appropriation of Dannon’s fruit-on-the-bottom concept.
If one place can free frozen yogurt from its binge-eating-sorority-girl associations, it’s this one. There’s nothing bland or homogeneous about it; it’s just really, really good.
Culture: An American Yogurt Company
331 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 22, 2011