For people who avoid dairy, the past few weeks or so may have been a little rough. Watching people saunter around campus with their cups of freshly swirled fro-yo, stacked high with fruit, chocolate, and granola, can leave one craving a cool, sweet, light spring treat. That’s where Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co. comes in. They swirl at their Union Square store plus at a seasonal location in the Hamptons. Dylan’s Candy Bar also serves their creations, and you can find a list online of other retailers that sell Soft Serve Fruit outside of the city.
The company uses just fruit, water, and a little bit of cane sugar to make a healthy alternative to soft serve desserts without dairy, fat, sodium, cholesterol, or gluten. Basically, if you can eat fruit, you can eat Chloe’s Soft Serve. But everyone knows the true joy of frozen treats comes from the toppings, and Chloe’s boasts an impressive array ranging from the typical fare (fruit, coconut, chocolate chips, peanut butter sauce, and chocolate sauce) to the more nontraditional (organic cereal, cacao nibs, carob chips, goji berries, and, I’m told, a whopping vegan waffle).
When I heard about this magical concoction, I knew I had to take the trip down to try it. (One tip: although Yelp will tell you that they have a store on the Upper East Side, that shop is closed.) Their store is bright and breezy, with very high ceilings and a handful of tables. They post their two pre-designed sundaes smoothies on one wall, the nutrition facts of their flavors on the other wall, and the six daily flavors on a chalkboard on the main menu above the counter. The menu also offers smoothies and breakfast options like oatmeal, fruit parfaits, and their warm vegan waffle, plus pints and popsicles to go.
On my afternoon excursion to Chloe’s, I was desperate for chocolate, so I went with a small chocolate soft serve, and added in some mango, banana, and shredded coconut. Then, about halfway through my sundae, I realized I wasn’t taking full advantage of the opportunity presented to me. The draw of the dessert is its fruit, and there I was with a cup full of chocolate! Fortunately, the other chalkboard in the shop reminded me of a very pleasant fact: because it’s only made with fruit, Soft Serve Fruit is low in calories and relatively healthy, as far as desserts go. Therefore, I reasoned, sampling some more couldn’t hurt; in fact, I would be helping myself if I asked to try a few samples and then ordered a second cup.
I sampled the blood orange, a flavor which started off light but ended with a strong citrus tang. Then, I tried their raspberry flavor and decided to go for a full order of that. Overall, the idea of the fruit was more innovative than the actual taste. None of the flavors brought an entirely different taste experience; instead, the chocolate managed to mimic chocolate frozen yogurt in taste and texture, while the raspberry was more like eating a sorbet. The only difference I noticed between Soft Serve Fruit and regular dairy soft serve was the aftertaste. While frozen yogurt leaves a distinctive tang, and other dairy desserts leave your mouth with a strange coating, Soft Serve Fruit has none of these aftereffects.
With a store in Union Square, Chloe’s is a little out of the way for an impulsive jaunt to fulfill a frozen craving. While I did enjoy scooping my fruit, I’m not sure that it alone would be enough to lure me back downtown. That being said, one of my previous posts was a review of Beyond Sushi, which is right in the neighborhood! So I present my final recommendation: this Saturday, take a break from the finals frenzy, hop a train all the way down to Union Square, have some vegan sushi, and browse the farmer’s market with a cup of Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit.