Shaved snow — ever hear of it? Me neither, until JoJo's Frozen Yogurt opened about two months ago.
JoJo's is a frozen yogurt place at the southwest corner of Ashlan and Fowler avenues in Clovis with all kinds of self-serve flavors of frozen yogurt, including nonfat sorbet and no sugar added options, and about 50 toppings.
But it's the shaved snow that makes this place different.
It's a frozen dessert like shaved ice. But instead of being made with ice, it's made with milk products — milk or cream or condensed milk — mixed with fruit or other flavors.
Owners Don and Christina Soyinthisane make the mixture themselves, freezing it into big discs. The discs are then placed in a machine that slices off super fine layers, ribbons almost, that are piled onto a plate.
Flavors range from Nutella and strawberry to cantaloupe and avocado. The purple taro flavor (taro is a root vegetable) has developed a big following among local Asians.
The shaved snow is topped with a variety of toppings from the frozen yogurt bar, including drizzling it with marshmallow cream or condensed milk, and fresh strawberries, pineapple, nuts and pastel cubes of mochi — little bits of sweet rice cake.
Describing the texture of the shaved snow is difficult. The owners and I stood around with spoons in hand repeatedly trying the Nutella flavor to describe it. Other than being really yummy, it's also creamier than you would expect.
"Shaved ice and ice cream, if they were to have a baby, it would be shaved snow," says Don Soyinthisane.
Shaved snow is lighter than ice cream, and a teensy bit healthier, says Christina Soyinthisane.
"Even though it's sweet, you don't feel real heavy after you eat it," she says.
Another business, Lollicup Coffee & Tea at 1075 E. Bullard Ave. has sold its version, "snow fluff," for a while now, in flavors such as strawberry mango and green tea.
The dessert has roots in Taiwan and is getting popular in the Los Angeles area and the Bay Area. After deciding to open a frozen yogurt store, a friend in Los Angeles suggested the shaved snow, saying he was seeing lines of 20 people stretching out the doors of places selling it. Don Soyinthisane waited half an hour to try it on a visit down south.
More frozen yogurt
Our area is about to get a lot more frozen yogurt shops.
One will eventually open at Fowler Avenue and Kings Canyon Road in the shopping center with the GB3 gym.
And Menchie's Frozen Yogurt is making a big push into the market with several franchises.
The Encino-based company says the first to open is at 3090 W. Shaw Ave., next to Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich in the same shopping center as Target. It's scheduled to open in September or October.
Another Menchie's in the Marketplace at El Paseo shopping center at Herndon near Highway 99 will open sometime this winter.
Retail brokers have also reported that a lease was signed for a Menchie's in the Target shopping center at Herndon and Willow avenues in Clovis. No word yet on when that one will open.
If you're an ice cream lover, there's news for you, too.
If you missed my colleague Bob Rodriguez's story on all the local ice cream makers last month, you can still check it out online at www.fresnobee.com.
Baskin-Robbins shops are getting in the summertime spirit with some fair-themed flavors. They have begun offering State Fair Fried Dough with cinnamon-caramel flavored ice cream with funnel cake pieces and a ribbon of fried dough.
They've also added a "s'more the merrier" flavor, along with cotton candy and orange 'n' creme flavors.
A new Baskin-Robbins in Reedley will celebrate its grand opening from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. The shop is at 585 I St. It will have a ribbon cutting at 1 p.m., along with face painting, balloon twisting, giveaways and of course, ice cream, including the flavor-of-the-month, Oreo nutty salted caramel.