L.A. frozen yogurt craze continues with new vendor

Though the University Gateway’s Yogurtland remains an empty shell, you can put down your fists of fury and walk down to the shopping center at 27th and Figueroa streets. Forget the Yogurtland fix — a new frozen yogurt champ has rolled into town and its name is Tutti Frutti.

Katrina MacGregor | Daily Trojan

Appearances are deceiving. From the outside, Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt — which opened just three months ago — looks like any other Pinkberry-ripoff fro-yo joint. But take a cheerfully offered sample cup and you will find that Tutti Frutti thrashes most of the pink and green-hued competition.

In self-serve fashion, Tutti Frutti has six yogurt pumps. You pick a cup size and choose your flavor combos. It might be a hard choice but you can’t really go wrong.

Tutti Frutti has a standard tart flavor, three or four fruity flavors and one or two creamy flavors.

The standouts among the fruit flavors are the pineapple, mango and strawberry. Those with a sweet tooth should not bypass the fruit for the chocolate — Tutti Frutti’s fruit flavors are its best component. The pineapple is clean and fresh, while the mango is sweet and tangy but without the sour “mango with the peel” taste that corrupts the yogurt flavor. Also swell, the strawberry lacks any of that synthetic “strawberry candy” taste.

Ultimately, Tutti Frutti hits a delicious spot with its creamy and fresh yogurts. Many frozen yogurts, lacking fat, have an icy mouth feel. Though Tutti Frutti’s yogurts are fat free, they are genuinely creamy — especially the chocolate and taro flavors.

The ultimate surprise was in fact the taro flavor. Taro — a potato — can taste strange in frozen yogurt form. Tutti Frutti’s taro, however, tastes like cake batter. It is sweet and creamy, but without the cloying sugar-fest of many actual cake batter flavors.

The only disappointing flavor of the gamut was the pistachio, which brought to mind pistachio Jell-O more so than pistachios.

Tutti Frutti changes its flavors every two weeks, and will introduce more flavors in the months to come. Cheesecake and espresso are on the imminent horizon. Meanwhile, Tutti Frutti also serves all-fruit smoothies in flavors such as kiwi and strawberry.

Once you have picked your yogurts (the taro-strawberry-chocolate combo is a luscious trifecta), you can add your mix-ins. They are pretty standard — fruit, nuts, candy, cheesecake and brownie pieces, sauces, cereal and sprinkles. Tutti Frutti has a few uncommon mix-ins, such as lychees, but does not go for red bean paste-levels of exotic. If you just want a Cap’n Crunch fix, you will be in good hands.

When you arrive at the register, nibbling away at the Fruity Pebbles that dust your frozen masterpiece, expect a sweet surprise. Tutti Frutti charges 35 cents per ounce, making it comparable to Yogurtland. However, Tutti Frutti does not charge for the cup. It also offers a 10 percent student discount, as well as a punch card so you can work your way toward a free yogurt. A modest-sized serving of yogurt with some toppings could easily keep you under the $3 mark — a dang fine price for a tasty dessert.

You might be feeling like you have heard the name Tutti Frutti before. Chances are, you have. Tutti Frutti is actually an international chain that has recently began a 150-store expansion across the United States.

Located right by South Figueroa and 30th streets, Tutti Frutti is well-situated for anyone living along Figueroa Street and is worth the hike for those in farther abodes. Yogurtland should be opening soon, but do not forget Tutti Frutti. Whether you want to spite Gateway or just want some good yogurt, Tutti Frutti is a great place for your fro-yo fix.