What do you think of when you think of yogurt? Do you think of frozen yogurt? Yogurt that you buy at the grocery store? What if we told you there is more to yogurt than you think? So much more…
When we’re not traveling, we love discovering hidden gems in our own back yard. Recently, we heard about Aroa Craft Yogurt & Café in Plantation, Florida. Quite literally in our backyard since we live only 10 minutes away. And when we tell you this craft yogurt is our new obsession, we are not exaggerating!
Ricardo and his wife Maria, along with his brother Ignacio and his wife Matea, are the masterminds behind this new yogurt cafe. Originally from Venezuela, they have a passion for creating craft yogurt and believe it is the perfect vehicle for eating healthy and good tasting food. As a new mom, Maria especially wanted to bring healthy and innovative dishes to South Florida families.
Aroa uses organic grass fed milk, and processes the yogurt there at the cafe using an old fashioned technique which produces a creamier yogurt. You can’t step inside the small factory-like area where they process the yogurt since it is heavily regulated by the Department of Agriculture, but you can watch through the glass windows (it’s really interesting to watch!).
Where they process the yogurt has an industrial feel, but the seating area itself is decorated nicely with a simple and warm feel to it. We especially love all of the light that comes through from the floor to ceiling windows.
Like we said earlier, there is so much more to yogurt than you think! Aroa wants to show people that yogurt can get to the next level. Yes, they make sweet yogurts. But they also use yogurt in sandwiches, soups, salads, and even juices! You see, depending on how they strain the yogurt, it can be made to be thicker so Aroa uses it as a substitute for cheese spread in sandwiches. Aroa also uses the left over yogurt whey to make ice cubes which they put in their juice blends. Maria is very creative and has figured out ways to create healthy dishes that actually taste good!
Our favorite of their fruity yogurts is the Berries Medley which has yogurt with berries and chopped mint. It’s so flavorful and the mint really gives it a cool and refreshing zing as you eat it. Now their savory yogurts were the biggest surprise and what we love the most. We’re torn for a favorite between the Caramelized Onions and the Basil Pesto. They’re both delicious and are perfect to use as dips. We’ve gone back and bought both for a party and everyone raved about how great they were. Give us some pita chips and we could easily eat a whole tub of each!
Maria uses only the freshest and healthiest ingredients possible (we never thought we’d eat kale!) and there are many gluten free options. Also, if you’re diabetic, you can ask to have your fresh fruit yogurts made with honey or marmalade instead of sugar (although they already use as little sugar as possible in their yogurts).
You can also purchase other goodies that they make at the cafe, like cookies or granola. And whatever they don’t make in house is sourced locally, which we love. For example, they serve Miami based Panther Coffee, a specialty coffee roaster that specializes in the small-batch roasting of coffee beans.
The Third Wave
Have you heard of the third wave of coffee? It’s a movement to create high-quality artisanal coffee with a focus on improving all stages of production. So the first wave of coffee would be brands like Folders. The second wave would be Starbucks. And the third wave would be Panther Coffee. There is now a similar concept for yogurt. The first wave would be brands like Dannon or Yoplait. The second wave would be brands that jumped on the Greek yogurt bandwagon. And now the third wave of yogurt is starting to flourish with craft yogurts being produced by places such as Aroa.
We really are obsessed with this new craft yogurt cafe. We love that we can eat rich and savory food and not feel guilty about it afterwards. We love the casual feel of the cafe (we’re thinking of working from there on the days we work from home, yay for the free WiFi and many power outlets they have!). But mostly, we love the passion that Ricardo and Maria have for their food. You can see it when they explain how they cook their dishes. We’ve seen them go over and talk to every customer that comes in and describe the ingredients in their meals. It’s incredible.
You definitely walk in to Aroa with a sense of curiosity, but you walk out feeling healthy, full, and part of the family.
Aroa Craft Yogurt & Café
1045 S University Dr, Plantation, FL 33324
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**A big thank you to Ricardo and Maria for providing us with samples of their dishes during our first visit. Since then, however, we have gone back many times on our own.**