Healthy and desserts aren’t two words commonly found in the same sentence, but they are in the case of downtown Vancouver’s Styo Dessert.
Specializing in frozen yogurt (or froyo, as it’s affectionately referred to today), parfaits, stuffed waffles, smoothies and soon-to-come pops, co-owners Dorothy Tam and Kenneth Lam make a concerted effort to source most of their ingredients locally, or make them in-house.
“Our frozen yogurt has no artificial flavour and no colouring. We basically try to go as natural as possible. Oh, and [the yogurt base is] gluten free,” says Tam, adding she doesn’t believe in carrying products that she wouldn’t feel comfortable giving to her own young daughter.
A self-professed dessert enthusiast, Tam says she has visited many ice cream and froyo establishments and wanted to offer guests a different experience than the self serve style commonly found in the Metro Vancouver and elsewhere.
“With self serve, you basically just go pick the frozen yogurt, pick the toppings then dump everything on top so it doesn’t look very appealing, and everything is all mixed together. When we do parfaits, you eat one layer at a time. As you get to the next layer the textures and flavours are different.”
Both Tam and Lam, who were high school friends, take great pride in giving their desserts an aesthetic appeal, and is something they pass onto their staff, too.
“Before you taste it, your eyes enjoy it first,” Tam says, pointing to one of their best sellers, a Mango Breakfast parfait, with froyo swirling symmetrically up above the rim of the cup, drizzled in real mango puree and garnished with a wafer stick and organic granola.
Located near the corner of Haro and Denman, Styo is tucked in between two businesses, and, once inside, visitors are greeted with a cozy space finished in a baby blue and white colour scheme. Signs displaying the shop’s various products cover the walls, as well as one that explains the meaning of the business’ name as “frozen yogurt in style.” Although the unique space is worth the check-out, these sweet treats can be delivered right to your front door as well.
People showing up to the establishment hungry need not worry, as there is more to the menu than just frozen sweets. Several types of stuffed waffles are offered, which are stuffed with fruit, red bean or wide array of other options. Even savoury varieties are served, cooked up right in front of you, like tuna and mozzarella surrounded by a deceivingly crispy waffle shell.
For the extra health-conscious, opt for one of the naturally sweetened smoothies, also blended on the spot. Try the Berrinana, packed full of bananas, strawberries, and cranberries, or for a post-workout pick-me-up, the Protein Power made with whey, banana, pineapple, honey, milk and non-fat organic yogurt.
The frozen yogurt parfaits start at $6.95 and owners Lam and Tam are always experimenting with new items. They teased a new product coming out just in time for summer: artisan fruit popsicles handmade from scratch.
For the winter months, Styo Dessert is open 1:30 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1:30 to 10:30 p.m. Fridays, 12 to 10:30 p.m. Saturdays and 12 to 10 p.m. on Sundays. Check out their Facebook page for updates and a link to the website with a full menu and pricing.