Monday, March 3, 2008


New York, meet Yolato. As far as I am concerned the gelato craze has reached its apex. Yolato is gelato made from yogurt.After seeing this new store open on Park Avenue I became curious and I emailed the company to find out more about this yogurt gelato, ingredients and specifically if it was gluten free. Not only did I get an informative response, I was offered a tour of one the facilities.

On Saturday the lovely and knowledgeable Joanne, manager of the Upper West Side location, educated me about Yolato. They make three very healthy and delectable products; sorbet, yogurt gelato and soft serve Yolato. All of the products are made from gluten free base mixes to which the flavors are added.

Each flavor is made in individual small batches and all the equipment is washed and sterilized between flavors to prevent any type of cross contamination. The base mixes are stored separately and the flavors are pre-packaged for individual batches, again, to prevent contamination.

The sorbets are made from a water-based mixture that is dairy free and fat free. Sorbet flavors include: Lychee, Kiwi, Raspberry, Pineapple, Pink Grapefruit, Watermelon, Pomegranate, PiƱa Colada, Mixed Berry, Mango, Blueberry, Peach, Strawberry, and Aloe Vera. The flavors change on a daily or weekly basis. I tried the Lychee, Pomegranate, and in the spirit of exploration, Aloe Vera. It was good! It reminded me of something from my childhood, although I can’t quite put my finger on what. Both sorbets and gelatos are served with flavor specific paddles that are exchanged or washed every hour or so.

The gelatos are made from a base of milk, fat free milk and fat free yogurt. The natural yogurt is called Yoggi, it’s sharp and yogurty (go figure), very refreshing. Other flavors include: Mint Chocolate, Cookies & Cream, Coconut, Chocolate, Carmel, Ferrero Rocher, Pistachio, Birthday Cake, Nutella, Peanut Butter, Tiramisu Cheesecake, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Vanilla. These flavors, too, are rotated. From my original inquiry I learned that the Cookies & Cream and Tiramisu flavors contain gluten.

Of the gluten free flavors Vanilla and Nutella have wafer cookies used as decorations, but not mixed in. I think that I sampled, and approve of, every single gluten free flavor. They were as rich, creamy and flavorful as Roman gelato.

The soft serve Yolato is made from a base of fat free milk and fat free yogurt. Each location has two flavors at a time, plain (Yoggi), and a fruit flavor that changes weekly. I got to try Strawberry, and that tasted like fresh yogurt and fresh fruit.

If anything can taste sinful and healthful at the same time, this succeeds. There are lots of fresh toppings to go on the Yolato, including; Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Kiwi, Pineapple, Mango, Cap’n Crunch, Granola, Coconut, Mixed Nuts, Fruit Loops, Chocolate Chips, Rainbow Sprinkles, Cheerios, Peanuts, Chocolate Jimmies and Oreo’s. Obviously, not all of these are gluten free, but I asked about spoon cross contamination and I was told that spoons are only used for each specific topping.

Yolato’s goal is to create a healthy, fresh, guilt free desert. They advertise being carb smart and having less sugar than most other brands of ice cream, and they do offer sugar free varieties. The sorbet and soft serve are fat free, where their gelato contains 0-8% fat depending on the flavor. This may be the healthiest way to enjoy Nutella!

Yolato is currently a local phenomenon, with five locations in New York City and two in New Jersey. They even deliver if you’re close enough, and I think my office is, just barely.

I loved how clean the store was. Both the front and back were spotless. The gelato and sorbet were carefully sculpted to look… windswept. The nutritional information is boldly posted to the left of the door, and along the wall opposite the gelato there is a long diner style counter with stools.

After this tour I am confident in eating here and recommending Yolato to anyone and everyone, gluten free or not. I wonder if the can make a wedding cake? I also whole-heartedly support this local company and its commitment to health, allergy awareness and general food safety.

I really can’t say enough good things about Yolato. You'd better check it out for yourself!

***I would like to thank all the staff of Yolato for being so helpful and friendly!***