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Love in the Land of Yogurt

The search for the right yogurt shop can oft en be as exhausting as the search for love, especially these days. Yogurt shops, like dating sites, have popped up everywhere lately and finding one that fits your taste, and budget, can be a quest with enough epic appeal to rival anything Odysseus ever took on. Indeed, the search has at times made me break down in agony and hunger. The Greek chorus has accompanied me, bewailing the tragic futility of finding love… and yogurt. However, this is a love story with a happy ending, or at least one not totally devoid of feeling and tasty toppings.

But lest I get ahead of myself, let me go back and take you step by step on the journey of how I found happiness in yogurt.

It was a dark, rainy day when I found myself ducking into a nearby yogurt shop just off Park Avenue for cover. Yogurt and I have had an on-and- off relationship over the years—sometimes passionate, sometimes left to languish in the shadows of past relationships with ice cream and gelato. For some reason though, I never could end it. My heart and stomach simply would not let me, but on this rainy summer day, all of that was about to change. My passion reignited as I stepped into the bright interior. With colorful gumdrop chairs and the scent of fresh fruit wafting through the air, it was as if I had disappeared into a dream, which started to suspend my initial reservations about going back to yogurt.

I am in Gurtzberry on the corner of Park and Morse, though I may as well be in yogurt heaven. It does not hurt that the crew at Gurtzberry looks like they just stepped off the runway of a Parisian fashion show. Unlike those other yogurt shops though, Gurtzberry is more than just a bit of flash and color. The newly redesigned menu offers customers a selection of all natural flavors and toppings at new lower prices, meaning this is one love affair that you will not regret in the morning. Then, in the interests of fairness and equality amongst yogurt shops, I took on the heft y journalistic responsibility of evaluating the nearby competition. There are Yogurtland, located off Orlando Avenue across from Winter Park Village, and Tutt i Frutt i on Park Avenue. The two are essentially the same: both chains operating out of California and charging costumers based on the weight of their yogurt. Both shop lack atmosphere, and both off er their toppings and yogurt buff et style. The employees I dealt with at both shop s were helpful, but my overall experience did not send me swooning. While both are perfect for fast food America, they are not for those wanting something more than a quick but empty snack. Gurtzberry, in contrast, has a large seating area and beautiful interior clearly designed to enrapture even the hardest heart that walks in and entice it to stay. The owner, Elina Nubaryan, was inspired to open the shop by her grandmother who made fresh yogurt for her every day. That tradition has carried on. It is evident after one bite that this yogurt is good not just for the body, but the heart as well. These are the reasons why now, after too long, there is a smile on my face once again.

Lest you think this an easy journey, let me assure you: it was not. It took a long time for me to reach where I am now. The table at the window overlooks a lot of heartbreak, a lot of yogurt gone. It is all right though because I have found something new, something that the chain shops with their self-service and limited interaction cannot come close too. I have found companionship and even love.

The Greek chorus has left ; they have no more tragic odes to love lost left to sing. I have found it, and realized that love, especially if accompanied by a good cup of yogurt, is something that will make even the darkest rainy day bright again.

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