A new culture

June 27th, 2015 1:50 am

First Posted: 8/1/2013

Sea salt caramel pretzel frozen yogurt topped with hot fudge, white chocolate chunks, granola, blueberries, strawberries, whipped cream and sprinkles.

Just writing about it makes one drool.

But that’s just one of a thousand delectable creations ready to be devoured at Yogurt in Love, the new self-serve frozen yogurt shop that recently opened at the Pittston Commons, between Planet Fitness and Kmart.

Co-owners Michael and Julie Mulea said frozen yogurt, or froyo, has been popular in the West Coast for nearly 20 years, but only recently has hit Northeast Pennsylvania.

Julie Mulea, a former General Hospital nurse, gave up her day job to devote all her time to the business. Her husband, Michael, is a physical therapist, and plans to keep his day job and let his wife run the business.

Julia Mulea said the shop has 21 froyo favors and dozens of toppings.

Customers walk in and get right to work. First, a cup is selected. Choices are a small 16 oz. or large 28 oz.

The yogurt goes in first. Select one flavor or mix up several.

Flavors include chocolate, vanilla, swirl, peanut butter, cookies and cream, peanut butter cookies, birthday cake, strawberry, strawberry shortcake, dark chocolate, sea salt caramel pretzel, chocolate covered pretzel, vanilla bean, Valencia orange sherbet, orange creamcicle, pomegranate energy, white chocolate mousse, Turkish delight, Zeusberries Greek, blueberry tart and berry tart explosion.

All flavors are either fat free, low fat and some are sugar free and all but two are gluten free.

Next step is to add toppings. The store offers more than 30, which include various chopped candies, cookie crumbs, sprinkles, fresh fruit such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi and pineapples. And don’t forget the liquid topping, such as hot fudge, hot butterscotch and Ghirardelli white chocolate, peanut butter and caramel.

Top it off with whipped cream and a cherry and the creation gets weighed. Customers are charged 45 cents an ounce.

Mulea said that although hard ice cream is still popular, the trend is toward frozen yogurt.

“Everyone wants to be able to make their own creation,” she said. “It’s fun to try new things and flavors.

Froyo is significantly healthier than ice cream, Mulea said. Yogurt is low in fat, helps decrease the risk of high blood pressure, has less calories than ice cream, rich in calcium and protein, helps lower cholesterol and is a source of probiotics that aids in digestion.

Julie Mulea grew up in Avoca and graduated from Pittston Area High School in 1989. She worked at General Hospital as a registered nurse for the past 15 years, but said she was looking for change.

“This opportunity came up and we grabbed it,” she said. “We wanted to stay close to home, so this is perfect.”

She said 8 O’Clock coffee and iced coffee is also available. They hope to offer lighter lunch fare in the future. And possibly smoothies.

“We’re right near Planet Fitness, and we hope to tap into that market,” she said.

The shop is open Monday to Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. Because the shop is so big, 2,000 square feet, they hope to be able to host childrens’ birthday parties in the future.

A grand opening celebration will be held on Saturday, Aug. 10.

Yogurt in Love has already been hosting fundraisers for community groups. The Duryea Little League had one on Aug. 1. The Queen of the Apostles Parish Community has one set for Aug. 25 and the Pittston Area Cheerleaders have one scheduled for Aug. 29.

Yogurt in Love joins similar frozen yogurt shops in West Pittston, Wilkes-Barre Township and Edwardsville.