Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Pinkberry, a First Taste
Okay, I think I understand the hype, now. I tasted Pinkberry frozen yogurt for the first time, last night. If you live in or near New York or Los Angeles, you may not have been able to escape the buzz on the "swirly goodness," as this product is promoted.
I ordered the original flavor, small size, no toppings. First impression? More tart and tangy than I had expected, and OMG--it tastes like Calpico, my favorite childhood soft drink from Japan!
How to describe Calpico to Americans? It is a milky looking soft drink that is both kinda' dairy-esque and a little citrusy-tangy. And sweet. A homemade version might mix a little milk and a little lemonade with water and sugar. It sounds unappetizing to most of my American friends. Even Domestic Partner, who is American Born Japanese (ABJ), thinks the drink is disgusting (but he does enjoy natto--fermented soy beans, go figure).
But if you learn to like it as a kid, it can be addicting! It is also similar to Japan's yogurty drinks like Yakult. And how thrilled am I that Yakult is becoming more common and available in the states, at least, in California?
The original name of Calpico is actually Calpis, which, in Japan, is pronounced 'ka-roo-pee-soo.' So, it is understandable why marketing eventually changed the phonetic name, slightly, for English speaking customers. As American children in Japan, my siblings and I used to sit around the kitchen table and giggle after saying, "Mmm. I'm drinking Calpis!"
Pinkberry frozen yogurt does not taste like cow piss or "freezer-burnt icy cream cheese," as some naysayers have proclaimed. It is light, refreshing, tangy, and delicious. It is also rather like a Slushie version of Pocari Sweat, a Japanese version of Gatorade (can you believe some of their product names? *chortle!*).
Will I go back for more Pinkberry? Yes. I am curious to find out if the green tea flavor has the same Calpico essence. The new coffee flavor, however, does not sound as tasty if coffee flavoring is merely combined with the original tangy flavor.
Will I go back frequently? No. Starting at $2.50 for a small original flavor, and $3.50 for a small green tea or coffee flavor, not to mention almost a dollar for each topping, Pinkberry is a regular habit that I cannot afford.
It's good, but not that good. It's frozen yogurt, for Pete's sake!