Finally, summer is on the horizon, and with it comes the inevitable food requirements: beachside BBQs, ice cold beers and the quintessential Golden Gaytime. And now there’s a new contender for the perfect summer treat, and it comes courtesy of a soft serve yoghurt machine and a rainbow of flavors straight of out Willy Wonka’s candy factory.
Merely weeks since opening, Yo-Chi has become something of a local phenomenon; teenagers filter steadily through in the after school hours and there’s a comfortable mix of hipsters and families to be found on any visit. And with the ‘pick and mix’ attitude of choosing your own flavor and topping, its cult following is suited much more for the unfussy, laid-back cool of Balaclava rather than it’s showy sibling St Kilda. Whilst there’s no doubt it could have done just as well in a more tourist-focused location, it’s clear the mentality behind Yo-Chi isn’t to become a trendy treat styled chain a la Trampoline, more centered around community and creating a local hangout that’s friendly and relaxed.
For what seems a simple concept, the combinations are endless – if you like your yoghurt the conventional way, there’s simple flavors such as traditional greek, mango and mixed berry to choose from, or you can go something more obscure like the brilliantly spiced Chai or the light and fluffy coconut. Toppings range from freshly cut fruit to dense chocolate sauce, nuts and even passionfruit pearls that burst in your mouth. Unlike the usual pick and mix system where each topping costs extra, Yo-Chi encourage you to try different flavors and toppings in the one cup, often giving you the chance to try before you make your decisions. 100g of yoghurt is $2.80, though you’ll most likely find a small cup filled reasonably full (with two or three toppings) works out closer to $5.
Whether you’re just looking for a healthy alternative to the myriad of ice-cream chains populating St Kilda or simply want to try something a little bit different, Yo-Chi looks set to become a staple this summer – and with its attitude to trying new variations each time, it demands a return visit.