July 24, 2012

Boom Frozen Yogurt Bar in Boulder Offers Lots of Local, Gluten-Free Toppings and Vegan Frozen Yogurt

By Evan Sandsmark -  

Frozen yogurt tends to be gluten-free, so the fact that Boom frozen yogurt buffet serves gluten-free frozen yogurt isn’t extraordinary. What makes Boom relevant to the gluten-free scene in Boulder is that they have so many gluten-free toppings, gluten-free toppings that also happen to be sourced from local Boulder companies. (Well, not all of them are – there are dozens of toppings – but several of them are, and Boom openly attempts to source their products from local Boulder companies whenever possible.) Boom also has a frozen “yogurt” made with almond milk, so there are gluten-free vegan frozen yogurt options as well. On a hot Boulder afternoon a few days ago, we went to Boom to check them out; we weren’t disappointed.

Boom is located on the west side 30th Street, slightly south of Iris Avenue and directly next to Vic’s Expresso. The inside is like other self-serve frozen yogurt places we have been to, and by “other self-serve frozen yogurt places we have been to,” we mean “Ripple Pure Frozen Yogurt”. (Those are the only two places that we’ve had self-serve frozen yogurt in the last several years.) Both have nice new interiors and a long line of frozen yogurts from which to choose, and both have friendly employees who are willing to guide you through the ingredients, pointing out which ones are gluten-free.

One thing that is distinct about Boom is that they seem to market themselves as more of a lounge than Ripple. The Boom website announces the yogurt bar as a “gathering table for the community,” and there is a room that can be blocked off from the rest of the interior for private gatherings. This room is normally open to everyone, however, and features two long tables, a black leather couch, and large flat-screen TV that appears to be permanently set on Cartoon Network (and perhaps even Dexter’s Laboratory specifically). Boom seems to be inviting people to hang out for a bit, or at least we hope this is their attitude because if it isn’t, we’ve dramatically overstayed our visit writing this article.

When you first enter Boom, you’ll be confronted with a table with four stacks of paper dishes. Not surprisingly, these dishes are to be used for frozen yogurt, the dispensers of which line the wall to your left. During our visit, there were 15 frozen yogurts and a few natural yogurts (in this context, it seems that “natural” just means unfrozen), and all of them were gluten-free. There were also a couple of vegan options, including the almond milk frozen yogurt. Almost all of the yogurts will be gluten-free on any given day, but periodically there will be a yogurt with some gluten-containing ingredient (e.g., the cookie dough yogurt). To go along with these various yogurts are dozens of toppings – basically any topping you would ever think to put on frozen yogurt, and perhaps a few others too, such as boba pearls and mochi. We also really appreciate all the fresh fruit, and the ever-present strawberry-rhubarb puree. As we mentioned, several of these ingredients are from local companies. For example, there are three different kinds of crushed Breeze Bars – Original, Chocolate, and Cocoa Espresso – that you can put on your yogurt, and all of these are gluten-free (because all Breeze Bars are gluten-free).

When we visited Boom, we were hungry, so we tried to dream up a creation that was part legitimate meal, part delicious treat. Pursuant to this goal, we chose the vegan mango sorbet as our yogurt and added a bunch of fresh fruit – slices of strawberry and kiwi, as well as whole raspberries – on top. To add a crunchy texture, we scattered a little bit of each kind of Breeze Bar over our concoction. There were plenty of other gluten-free toppings that we could have added, but we wanted our yogurt to have coherent, unified flavor scheme, so we resisted the urge to add whatever caught our eye.

At Boom, each ounce of your yogurt dish costs 49 cents. This is reasonable enough, but it’s really easy to rack up ounces as you pile toppings on your yogurt. As a general rule, you want less than you’ll naturally take, and following this rule we made a dish that was just about right. It was filling, but enjoyable to the last bite. We really enjoyed the mango sorbet, which had the distinct flavor of mango, but it wasn’t overdone. Sometimes fruit flavors overwhelm, as if a given product is determined to remind you on every bite that you’re eating a particular flavor, but this wasn’t the case with the mango sorbet. The yogurt also went very well with the fruit we added, which was plump and juicy, and the Breeze Bars added just the crunch for which we were looking. The only component of our dish that was of questionable merit was the dried fruit in the Breeze Bars. It was perfectly fine dried fruit that plays a nice role in a standalone Breeze Bar, but they didn’t mix well with the fresh fruit we added. It would be absurd to call this a problem – picking out the dried fruit was about as inconvenient as getting dressed in the morning – and in any case it is neither Boom nor Breeze Bar’s fault that we didn’t fully think through what we was adding to my yogurt.

Overall, Boom is an excellent place to get frozen yogurt with gluten-free toppings, especially on a hot day. You can make just about any yogurt dish you want, and the employees can guide you if you have any questions about the toppings. And it’s always nice to support an independent local Boulder business, especially when they in turn make a point of doing the same.

Plus, as an added bonus for some, Boom does not suffer from the ever-present gaggle of teenagers that seems to eternally overwhelm Ripple.

You can find the website for the Boom in Boulder here:

Boulder’s Boom

(Conveniently listed on this site are the yogurts and special toppings of the day.)

The frozen yogurt bar itself can be found here:

3303 30th Street
Boulder, CO 80301

Note: Many of the places we visit merely offer gluten-free options, and hence are not necessarily 100% gluten-free facilities, so if proximal cross-contamination is an issue, call ahead. If you would like us to review a particular restaurant with gluten-free options, send an email to info@glutenfreeinboulder.com. We’ll try our best to check it out!

Read Next Article » A Gluten-Free Trip to Aspen Leaf Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt in Gunbarrel Near Boulder
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