Welcome to: Yogurtland

The Southern California obsession with frozen yogurt climbs to new heights with Yogurtland, a chain that recently opened a new storefront in the Claremont Village. Differing from the now-dead Kiwiberry and the whimsical 21 Choices, Yogurtland allows customers to serve themselves. Each step, from the amount of yogurt flavors dispensed, to the combination of toppings sprinkled on top, is in the hands of the customer. For a new Yogurtland costumer, this freedom can be overwhelming; before you know it, seven yogurt flavors and 10 toppings are commingling in your cup. All jokes about the stresses of creating the perfect cup of yogurt aside, Yogurtland is truly a great bargain. It seems odd that this space used to house Cold Stone, a business that charged me nearly five dollars for a scoop of vanilla ice cream, when my last trip to Yogurtland cost me well under the two-dollar mark. Since Yogurtland bases their prices off of the total weight of your yogurt creation, how much you are paying is literally in your hands.

So what should you choose? If you are a purist, like me, the plain tart is excellent—delightfully tangy with a kiss of sweetness. Yogurtland’s flavor options shift, but when I visited they had pineapple tart, pomegranate tart and, my guilty pleasure, peach tart. If you aren’t a fan of the tart tastes, Yogurtland has a plethora of flavors, ranging from the classic Arctic vanilla and Dutch chocolate to the decadent New York cheesecake, and verging on the exotic with flavors like taro and green tea.

Once you select your yogurt flavor—or flavors—you are faced with an abundance of toppings. Again, you see the expected crushed candy bars, nuts and fruit, but I was pleasantly surprised to find both mochi and red bean as possible yogurt toppers.

So what makes the perfect yogurt? Yogurtland encourages you to figure that out for yourself. If you accidentally mix peanut butter and mango yogurt together , Yogurtland doesn’t judge. If you mistake mochi for funny looking marshmallows, Yogurtland won’t laugh at you.

In the all-you-can-eat, self-created haven of a Yogurtland storefront, it is hard to remember that you can come back and try again, but it is just that “if at first you don’t succeed” mentality that makes for a great Yogurtland experience. And after many personal failed attempts, I have found my niche: plain tart with mochi and almonds. Sure, it’s not as flashy as some of the other flavors, but it suits me just fine, and that is what Yogurtland is all about.