Daily Archives: 13 June 2010

On Location: Frae (Islington, London)

Frozen yoghurt. These two simple words usually suggest one thing to me – the frozen “treat” for people on a diet and who seek to deny themselves the pleasures of life. They want ice-cream, but they are settling for a poor substitute. Very LA, some sort of “fun lite”.

I had this thought in my mind when, on a warm Friday afternoon, I passed Frae on Camden Passage in Islington. The store looks quite funky, all whites and lime greens, and is tucked between the cool boutiques and trendy antique stores. What the heck, let’s try it, I thought.

Frae offers plain (“naked”) or green tea flavours, and is vocal about their all-natural product (a good thing) and the fact they are low cal and 100% fat free (less appealing to me – you see why I’ve always through of this as a diet thing?). But the fun part is that you can then pimp your frozen yoghurt with a variety of toppings – fresh fruit, granola, cookies, brownies etc. There was even chopped-up mochi – the most innovative topping I’ve seen for a while by quite some way.

In the end, I played it safe and went for blueberries and blackberries. I got a bit tongue-tied, and my initial request was to blurt out the Scottish terms for each, blaeberries and brambles(*), my Scottish accent drawing a blank from the Aussie behind the counter. I found this all the more amusing given that Frae claims that its name comes from the old Scots word for “from”. Once we finally understood each other, I was able to wander off into the sunshine with my frozen yoghurt forming a lovely peak and studded with ripe fruit. I think I should point out that by the time I took the picture, I had tried it and it had melted a little, but it did originally look picture-perfect.

I have to say, this stuff was good. All my doubts vanished. The reason? Frae’s offering is obviously yoghurt and not a fake ice-cream. It still has a nice, sharp, acidic tang of natural yoghurt and tastes very fresh. I thought the combination with the fresh fruit was absolutely delicious, while also being quite light. I am a person that usually has fruit sorbets in the hot weather, and I can happily see myself eating this. It almost felt healthy, and I suspect it might actually have been good for me. Just a little bit.

Would I go back? Yes! I am definitely a frozen yoghurt convert. I want to try the green tea flavour (after my recently flirtation with making green tea truffles) and just eat more of the plain stuff topped with fruit. I see this as a new summer food – I’ll have it in addition to ice-cream, just don’t ask me to choose between them.

(*) I still instinctively think of fruits and vegetables by the names we called them in Scotland when I was a child, hence to me blackberries are brambles, and blueberries are blaeberries. And what my English friends call swede, I call turnip, and what they call turnip, I call white turnip. Food and culture, eh?

Frae, 27 Camden Passage, London N1 8EA. Tel: 020 7704 6538. Tube: Angel.

LondonEats locations map here.

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