Orange Leaf a treat for kids and parents alike

By By Michael Cooper / American Press

My wife and I promised our kids a treat if they received good progress reports from school.

They delivered, so we took a trip to the Orange Leaf located in the Walmart shopping center in Sulphur.

Orange Leaf is one of a handful of frozen yogurt chains that have sprung up across the country in the past few years.

The concept at each is similar. Pick a size, choose a flavor and add all the toppings you want.

The final cost depends how much you load up your cup. Orange Leaf charges $0.43 per ounce and with my group, it came out to

about $5 per person.

The appeal for kids is they get to build their own, one-of-a-kind dessert. The attraction for parents is we get to give our

kids a healthy and fun treat.

My family and I have been to Orange Leaf a few times so I have some suggestions:

l Stick with the smallest size. They offer a larger cup but it isn’t necessary unless you plan on sharing it with someone.

l Monitor your children when they are creating their dessert. When presented with so many options they can go overboard and

you will end up spending way more than you wanted to and they won’t be able to finish it all.

l Choose a single, simple flavor and spice it up with toppings.

l While the frozen yogurt is healthy by itself, one can get into trouble with the toppings and sauces.

l Go back and try it again. Orange Leaf rotates new flavors of yogurt and toppings each month so there is always something

new to taste.

The company’s corporate website lists 70 varieties of frozen yogurt, but most shops can offer only 14 flavors at a time.

The Sulphur store had vanilla on two machines along with chocolate, peanut butter, grapefruit, cotton candy, cookie cake,

orange, pomegranate, green apple, key lime pie, strawberry, cheesecake and white chocolate raspberry.

Expect to see about eight fruit, or fruit-like, toppings as well as 20 candy, three nut and six sauce options.

My kids went a little crazy with their flavor combinations. I should have taken a bite of each for this review but cotton

candy and strawberry cheesecake just were never meant to be together, no matter what my daughter will tell you.

The highlight for my kids and wife was a new topping — breakfast cereal marshmallows.

A few of the other toppings included strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, grapes, sprinkles, plain and peanut M&Ms, gummy

worms, crushed Oreos, Kit Kat pieces and mini marshmallows.

The sauces were dark and white chocolate, pineapple, caramel, chocolate fudge and marshmallow cream.

There were no complaints from my wife or kids. No one had leftovers and everyone left full and satisfied.

I chose vanilla yogurt with

strawberries and a little white chocolate sauce. The yogurt itself was

wonderful. It was creamy

and soft, much like a good ice cream. The strawberries were fresh

and void of the usual heavy syrup most places use. The sauce,

by Ghirardelli, was sweet without being overpowering.

The Sulphur store was immaculately clean, comfortable and well lit.

Though it is a build-it-yourself-dessert place, the workers were always around and both helpful and cheerful. Decorations

were bright and colorful and the kids really enjoyed the oddly shaped orange plastic chairs.

The only negative was that the women’s bathroom was out of order when we visited.

Frozen yogurt is gaining in popularity again as Americans look for healthier dessert alternatives.

Orange Leaf claims its yogurt has 25 to 54 calories and 0 to 2 fat grams per ounce. That’s a pretty good exchange for satisfying

a sweet tooth. Watch out, though, as you could erase that by adding too much of the candy toppings.

A majority of the flavors offered by Orange Leaf are gluten free and there were a few dairy-free and sugar-free options listed

on the menu. The company website also states that they are working on a few vegan options.

Readers with an iPhone or android device should download Orange Leaf’s free App.

It gives you access to deals and promotions but also lets you check the current flavor line-up at your local Orange Leaf store.

That’s great for those who are waiting for the return of the much-loved coffee-flavored frozen yogurt.