Just in time for warmer weather, Ian’s Pizza in Madison, Wis., is planning to debut the state’s newest artisan product -- frozen yogurt made from local Sugar River Dairy yogurt and fresh Blue Marble Family Farm milk, both located in southwest Wisconsin.
The new Ian's Frozen Yogurt will be available in 8-ounce cups beginning Monday, April 20, at Ian’s Pizza by the Slice on Frances St in Madison. It will almost always be available in original or vanilla flavors, along with specialty flavors that will reflect the seasons.
“Since Sugar River Yogurt is so flavorful, we knew it would make an excellent base as we were developing our frozen yogurt,” says Cindy Gross, head chef at Ian’s Pizza (pictured above). “Using just their plain yogurt and sugar during the initial testing phase, everyone on staff was blown away by just how good real frozen yogurt can taste. And our employees are definitely some of our toughest critics!”
I got the chance this morning to try two of the flavors Cindy is currently perfecting - maple and honey. Both flavors reflect the freshness of the milk and the quality of Sugar River Dairy yogurt. Ian's Frozen Yogurt doesn't taste like the commercial gooey stuff you get at TCBY. This is the real deal, and the flavor of the milk is allowed to shine through.
Chef Gross says she plans to offer seasonal flavors, such as choke cherry, in the summer. She is working with a local farmer to develop fruits and flavorings designed to specifically compliment Sugar River Dairy yogurt in a frozen form. She is also developing special in-house toppings, such as granola and organic chocolate, to accompany individual servings.
If all goes well at the Frances St. location, Ian's plans to expand its frozen yogurt offerings to its other restaurants in Madison, eventually establishing a commissary to sell it direct to consumers.
Using local ingredients is nothing new to Ian's Pizza. The restaurant has long been buying high quality meats, as well as seasonally-available produce, from local farmers.
“Since a big part of our company vision is to lessen the impact we have on the environment, incorporating more locally-produced food into our menu makes a lot of sense to us,” says Ian Gurfield, founder of Ian’s Pizza. “Plus we get to support other area small businesses, and the food just tastes better. Not only that, but we’ve found that our food costs have, in some cases, actually fallen since we started actively pursuing more Southern Wisconsin-based products.”
Hallelujah, brother. Bring on the local frozen yogurt!