Keep up to date on all the great events, grand openings, and parties in Fort Lauderdale with our weekly newsletter.
Plantation’s newest artisanal cafe wants to show customers that there’s much more to yogurt than meets the eye.
Aroa Craft Yogurt and Cafe, which opened March 3, is dishing out a menu that revolves around one of our favorite creamy snacks. But co-owner Maria Vargas wants her guests to know that a good bowl of yogurt isn’t prepared by simply throwing some fruit into the mix.
Having been in the yogurt business for nearly 10 years, Vargas and her husband, Ricardo Aguerrevere, know the ins and outs of the famous snack. After opening a small factory in their native country of Venezuela, they decided to bring their one-of-a-kind recipe stateside, and opened Aroa with the help of her brother and sister in-law, Ignacio and Matea Aguerrevere.
"When we started getting into the market here, we figured out that all the yogurt at the supermarket is not fresh enough," Vargas said. "It’s around five or 10 days old … so we wanted to open a place where you could get fresh yogurt, and also see how it’s made."
The cafe, which features mid-century, tropical themed decor, includes a small “yogurt room” surrounded by glass windows, allowing customers to follow the process first-hand. Patrons are also invited to take a tour through the room, in which signs are posted to explain the steps more clearly.
Vargas said they included this aspect because the goal is to be as transparent as possible when it comes to their ingredients and how the food is made.
"We want people to trust us, because we feel that everything [in the U.S.] is so processed that you have to read the labels all the time to make sure there’s nothing weird in your food," she said. "So we want to use simple, honest and local ingredients to make a delicious and healthy meal."
Aroa’s signature yogurt is a key ingredient in the cafe’s variety of soups, spreads, cheeses and dips. By making subtle changes during the process, the thickness, tartness and texture of the yogurt is then altered. The craft yogurt is also utilized as a healthy replacement for mayonnaise, cream cheese and dressings.
For just $11.50, customers can enjoy their choice of a sandwich or a balance bowl, which includes grains, greens, veggies, yogurt dressing, seeds and nuts.
Sandwich options include the chicken pesto with greens, slow-roasted tomatoes—for 26-hours, to be exact—and a house-made yogurt, pesto and parmesan spread, or the Mediterranean with roasted peppers, eggplant, greens, and a yogurt cheese spread. Both options can be paired with a side of sweet or savory yogurt, or a soup ($4).
House-made yogurts range from sweet varieties like apple, cinnamon and pecan, to a pesto mix that can be paired with carrots and pita bread.
Vargas notes that little to no processing takes place when it comes to the added ingredients, in order to retain their nutritional value. For instance, the apples retain their skin, which then provides high levels of fiber.
"We want to offer people the opportunity to enjoy food, but also take care of themselves," she said.
Coffee from Wynwood-based specialty roaster Panther Coffee is also available, along with house-made probiotic green drinks. The store is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.
Aroa Craft Yogurt and Cafe; 1045 S. University Drive, Plantation
(Images via Facebook/Aroa Craft Yogurt and Café)
Plantation’s newest artisanal cafe wants to show customers that there’s much more to yogurt than meets the eye. Aroa Craft Yogurt and Cafe, which opened March 3, is dishing out a menu that revolves around one of our favorite creamy snacks.