In a word, yogurty. I know California regulations have declared this is not actually yogurt, but this seems like more Y than TCBY. I can't believe it's NOT yogurt! The sourness of my small dish is cut by my coconut and pineapple toppings. I'm usually more of a chocolate fan, but the yogurt is oddly refreshing. (Fear not, chocoholics! You can get chocolate chips or Cocoa Puffs mixed into your Pinkberry.) As for the mystery ingredient, my friend Pearl, a yogurt fanatic who didn't need any encouragement to join me on this adventure, thinks it's some kind of artificial sweetener; I imagine it's a preservative that keeps my smooth 'n' creamy dish from getting warm 'n' curdy. Since there are no ingredient lists in the shop, we can't tell who's right.
I'm a tad underwhelmed by the Pinkberry experience. Unlike your Coldstone or Marble Slab, the toppings aren't mixed into your dish, so half my pineapple ended up on the counter instead of in my belly where they belong. As for the health benefits, if you order the 13-ounce large (which is more like 18 oz. when you count the swirl), you're getting more treat by volume than you'd get from Ben & Jerry's, but not really saving on calories. I'm not convinced you couldn't get the same delicious taste by sticking a container of yogurt in your freezer for half an hour. Then again, I didn't try the green-tea flavor, and I never figured out what the secret ingredient was.
Want to take the Pinkberry Challenge? Send us your Pinkberry thoughts, impressions, and photos. and we'll give your opinion as much weight as Ms. Richie.