“Somewhere at the back of my mind must be the thought that I grew up in Dorset by the sea,” says Michelle Young, founder of The CoolberryCafe frozen yogurt brand, based in Princes Risborough. “How else could I explain my love of ‘frozen treats’?”
Michelle is so wonderfully enthusiastic about her new concept. After a slow start in America, frozen yogurt has taken off as a super trendy dessert and, according to Michelle, there are loads of frozen yogurts cafes in the shopping areas in the same way that we now have coffee chains.
Michelle and her partner, Remco, who has experience in catering and helps out with the new business whenever he can, went to New York and Chicago on a fact finding mission to see if the concept could be made to work here.
“I thought those cities were more relevant to our climate and culture here rather than California,” she says. “Frozen yogurt is seen as – can I say it? – ‘cool’, healthy and very fashionable at the moment: a lifestyle product. And everyone who tries it, loves it.”
Guilt-free Frozen Treats!
Michelle wants her new idea to be a fun experience – exciting and different – and loves the positive feedback she gets from happy consumers.
The natural yogurt base comes from Italy and is made with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk and all natural ingredients. It’s 0.1 per cent fat and only 100 calories per 100ml serving.
The fun is in the choice of toppings. Fresh strawberries, chocolate brownies and marshmallows are the most popular, but there is a huge range and you can mix and match.
“Not all the toppings are as healthy as fresh fruit,” she admits, “but it’s all a case of balance and anyway we all need some indulgence.”
Three Wheels on my Wagon
Michelle sells the yogurt base to clients and was going to see a major department store with a view to branding her product in their cafes.
However, she really wanted her own outlet and being wary of paying out huge amounts in rent, was inspired by the idea of a small three wheeled Italian Piaggio vans. She now has her own customized purple van and is selling the yogurt at festivals and fairs, including Waddesdon and Thame.
Like Michelle, the Piaggio is fun and original and apparently it’s been a huge success. I can certainly vouch for the fact that it went down well at the Thame Food Festival recently where there were huge queues.
She is hoping to hire out her frozen yogurt ‘experience’ at weddings and corporate events and clearly has big ideas for the future. You can’t help but want to wish her well and every success.