As I stood in front of the toppings bar at Menchie’s, frozen yogurt cup in hand, one thought immediately crossed my mind: I don’t belong here.
It wasn’t because I don’t share a kinship to some of the famous faces that grace Menchie’s wall of Hollywood fro-yo fanatics (Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton). It wasn’t the fact that the store’s lime green and pink motive made me feel like I’d entered some sort of Barbies-meets-Care-Bears universe. No… I felt I didn’t belong there because I’m a food lover with self control issues, and Menchie’s offers more than 80 flavours of frozen yogurt (which rotate on a regular basis) and more than 50 toppings, and charges customers not by cup size or number of toppings, but by weight. In other words, there was nothing stopping me from loading up on multiple flavours and topping them with cheesecake pieces, brownies, fresh fruit, gummis, etc… And I was at Menchie’s new Bloor St. location as an invited guest to its inaugural Blogurtfest event, so even the threat of prohibitively expensive yogurt was missing from the equation.
Of course, I had Jenny with me, and she usually does a good job of keeping me in check. And we were facing off against 15 other blogger teams to create the ultimate Menchie’s frozen yogurt creation, so ensuring the right mix of toppings, flavours and sauces was essential. With a judging panel that included Adell Shneer and Annabelle Waugh from Canadian Living magazine and iconic pastry chef Joanne Yolles of Scaramouche, we knew we’d have to put on our thinking caps to impress.
Team Communal Table decided to go with a creation inspired by Elvis’ love of peanut butter and banana sandwiches. We started with a layer of Menchie’s cake batter, which we topped with peanuts and peanut butter chips. Then, a layer of banana bread yogurt, topped with fresh banana slices and brownie pieces, caramel sauce, more peanut butter chips and a few chocolate chips. And finally, a banana chip on top for presentation. And what else could we name an Elvis-inspired, banana and brownie filled creation besides Chunky Hunka Monkey Love?
In the end, we didn’t win. Jenn at The Fashionista Foodie took 3rd place with her Tartin-ista, 2nd place went to Banoffee Pie by Irene of Kitchen Mischief, and Beverly and Sean of Potato Chops and Boneless Chicken took top honours with their Tropical Thunder creation. But we did win an honourable mention, as the judges were impressed by our flavour combination. And since honourable mention got us a VIP card good for one Menchie’s fro-yo with any number of flavours and toppings, it looks like I’ll find myself back at Menchie’s toppings bar with price as no deterrent once again. Darn.