List 104: Banana cake variations noticed in the past week

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Food

It must be banana cake season!

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1) Chocolate cacao nib banana bread on Pastry Affair

Pastry Affair

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2) Flourless banana, cinnamon + dark chocolate muffins on My Darling Lemon Thyme

Lemon Thyme

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3) Wholegrain chocolate banana pancakes on Saveur

Saveur

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4) Grandma Ettema’s banana nut bread on Cooked

Cooked

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5) Banana cake with penuche icing; my result on the What Cake Are You? quiz

Penuche

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6) Caramelised mango and banana rum bundt cake on Stroud Green Larder; flavour combination originally noticed at My Sista Says

My Sister Says

List 102: The largely unsuccessful frozen yoghurt tour of Melbourne, 2014

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Food

Hot on the heels of the highly successful (and highly fattening) Great Ice Cream and Gelato Tour of Melbourne, I thought I’d give frozen yoghurt a go too. And why the hell not — it’s been a blistering summer, everyone else gets excited by it and every second shop these days seems so be a fro-yo place.

Being an ice cream fanatic and an “I-like-things-simple-but-done-well” kind of a gal, the idea of yoghurt posing as ice cream seemed wrong. My idea of yoghurt heaven is eating it Greek-style, thick and creamy, topped with raw honey and cinnamon, unlike this Seven-Eleven-esque soft-serve phenomenon that seems to be mushrooming all over Australia. But I kept an open mind and went on the journey anyway.

Sadly, as much as I tried, I found that fro-yo is definitely not my thing. So instead of doing a proper review of each place I visited, here’s an overview of my not-so scientific investigation and its results.


Parameters
1) No toppings. I’m a purist!
2) Visit only places that have had good reviews from other people. No point wasting time in going to crap places eating something that I’m not 100% sold on to begin with.
3) No fruity flavours. Fruit and ice cream really don’t do it for me for some reason. I much prefer the earthy spicy varieties like vanilla, chocolate and cinnamon.

Data collected and devoured
(Arranged in the order I visited them)

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Skinny Dippa
cinnamon banana (fruit I know, but I love cinnamon!), burnt caramel, original

Skinny Dippa

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Ayomo
caramel gelato-style yoghurt

Ayomo

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Yo-Chi
licorice, salted butterscotch, original tart, chocolate, chai

Yo-chi+++
Frozen by a Thousand Blessings
green tea, chocolate, natural

Frozen
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Story in a Cup
original, chocolate and two other flavours I can’t remember because quite frankly, none of them excited me

Story+++
YOMG
soy chai latte, original, chocolate, salted caramel

YOMG


Conclusions

1) I dislike the texture of soft-serve anything. Frozen desserts should be thick and creamy.
2) It relies on toppings to make it taste good. If the base isn’t great, then it ain’t great.
3) Self-serve fro-yo shops are designed to clean out your wallet. At $2 ++ per 100 grams and without knowing what 100 grams looks like, you can end up paying WAAAAAY more than you expected. The serves featured above would probably set you back about $15.
4) 98% fat free yoghurt pumped full of sugar is not any healthier than normal ice cream or gelato. The problem with fat-free anything is that the protein (casein) content in dairy is increased to compensate for the lack of fat. Casein is very difficult on our digestive system as it is and we need the fat to digest it properly. People who normally consume a lot of non-fat products end up with IBS. In fact, normal full-fat gelato made with good quality ingredients is probably a better choice. Check this out.
5) The best out of the lot was YOMG, with really nice thick Original Tart, Soy Chai and Chocolate. I’m really glad I ended my tour at this joint. The salted caramel was really weird though. I normally love this flavour but the balance between sour and salty was way off!
6) Special mention to Frozen’s Green Tea which wasn’t overly sweet, had good consistency and had a really beautiful clean taste. Out of everything I tried, this is probably the only one I’ll eat again.
7) I actually quite enjoy gelato-style yoghurt like the one I had at Ayomo. Following that trip, I went to Gelato Messina and had a dulce de leche yoghurt gelato. Belissimo!


Main conclusion

Despite a few exceptions and an eagerness to see how many more creative names they can come up with for a frozen yoghurt brand (YOMG is my favourite), fro-yo is a no-go.