Thursday I answered a knock on the door to find the Stonyfield team and someone from WikiFoods on my doorstep.
They were bringing me samples of a groundbreaking new food: Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls. Imagine a small scoop of frozen yogurt that you hold and eat, because it is encased in what wikipearl technology from WikiFoods, in Cambridge, MA, a “fruit skin.” The “skin”—because I know you are as curious about this as I was—is made of organic fruit to which some alginate is added, then it’s put into a calcium bath (or something!) so things ionize (OK, I’m not totally clear on the science here) and it’s like mochi, a very thin layer of mochi (mochi being that Japanese glutinous rice cake sometimes wrapped around ice cream). This is MUCH tastier, organic, delicious…and it’s handheld, easy to eat, easy to serve…
Why washable, you ask? Imagine buying apples or grapes at the store. They have skin, right? They aren’t individually packaged except in their own skin, and you take them home and wash them before eating. While you can buy (and currently can only buy) Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls in standard-looking packaging (except it’s made of cellulose, not plastic—let’s hear it for sustainable packaging!), the company’s plan is for these to eventually be sold in bulk bins in the freezer section.
From the Stonyfield blog: Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls are so ground-breaking stores aren’t yet equipped to sell them completely package-free. Shoppers will be able to buy them either in pre-packed cellulose bags made from wood fiber in the frozen aisle, or over the counter at Wikibars where they can be placed directly in shoppers’ bags, egg cartons or in any container people bring in, for a plastic-free, waste-free treat. Stonyfield and WikiFoods are working with retailers to design package-free solutions for the near future – at that point, frozen yogurt fans will be able to find them in bulk at a fixed station or in a self-service dispenser, free of any unnecessary packaging and waste.
OK. Technology and sustainability aside, what are we talking about? Deliciousness. Here are the flavor combos (with skin flavors listed first): coconut/chocolate, peach/vanilla (my favorite), banana/vanilla, banana/chocolate (my other favorite), strawberry/chocolate, and strawberry/vanilla (which I didn’t get to try, because I gave it to my friend to try when she was over for lunch).
The WikiPearls/WikiFoods guy said he puts some in his child’s lunch box, in a thermos. Yes! Because even if they DO melt a little, they’re still self-contained! No mess! This means you can take them as snacks anywhere.
My brother and his family are coming over for dinner tonight, and I may go pick up a few more of these for dessert. Oh, wondering about nutrition, especially sugar content? 4 grams per pearl. I’m serious. I too was expecting a lot more. Also, 25 calories per pearl. For something the size of a golf ball. Yum.
These are only available in a few Boston-area Whole Foods stores for now: Whole Foods Market Fresh Pond (Cambridge), River Street (Cambridge), Charles River Plaza in Boston, and the new Lynnfield store. You will probably be able to get samples in the stores, too!
Go now. Get some. Share some. And thank you, Stonyfield, for doing your part to eliminate packaging, bite by delicious bite.