Tart and tangy, frozen yogurt is an acquired taste for many, but once hooked, its fans rarely go back to ice cream. The franchise chains made frozen yogurt popular in the 90s, but the best places for this cold treat are the ones that have built up local followings in their neighborhoods. Here are five of those favorites for Connecticut’s fans of the fabulous frozen delight.

Photo Credit: Sweet Claude’s via Facebook

Sweet Claude’s
828 S Main St
Cheshire, CT 06410
(203) 272-4237

The frozen treats at Sweet Claude’s in Cheshire are fresh and the culture in the yogurt is active. Celebrating 25 years this March,  Sweet Claude’s is best known for its seasonal flavors. The “We Make Our Own” sign out front is as much of a promise as it is a mark of pride, and the portions are as generous as the servers themselves are with their smiles. Splurge with the two-for-one specials. Although Sweet Claude’s has developed a solid following for its Tofutti offerings (dairy free), the ice cream and frozen yogurt are what pack the place in the warm weather. With flavors like caramel cashew, dough-si-dough and Mississippi mud, it’s hard to walk out of here without a huge smile plastered to your face.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Zack’s Famous Frozen Yogurt
60 Access Road
Stratford, CT 06615
(203) 378-7441

To survive, let alone thrive for 15 years in this rundown strip mall, a place has to have a really good product, and Zack’s has just that. There are not many choices at any one time but that is intentional. It’s better to have six great flavors than several dozen mediocre treats. Coconut, cheesecake and pistachio are among the most written about by Zack’s fans, but part of the fun of this place is not knowing what will be on the menu until you drive up. There are always the safe basic flavors, but it is the red velvet cake, honey almond and mardi gras king cake that make customers believe in Zack’s motto of “Taking on the World One Sundae at a Time.”

Photo Credit: Collins Creamery

The Collins Creamery
9 Powder Hill Road
Enfield, CT 06082
(860) 749-8663

Already famous for its homemade ice creams (the maple walnut and peppermint stick are legendary), the folks at The Collins Creamery in the Hazardville section of Enfield are now making frozen yogurt. The milk and cream comes from its own Holsteins, and many of the other ingredients are also both local and fresh. There are the traditional, basic flavors, but for those who want some “yippee” in their yogurt, the frozen milky way and red raspberry chocolate chip come highly recommended. The sampler dish of four flavors is a must for those who have not yet found their favorite – or who just can’t make up their mind and want to have it all.

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Photo Credit: 16 Handles

16 Handles
1300 Post Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
(203) 292-9841

The 16 Handles name refers to the literally 16 handles on the eight machines that customers can pull down to fill their cups in this self-serve yogurt emporium. This are no mere vanilla or chocolate options. At 16 Handles, obscure offerings prevail with coconut castaway and blackberry addiction to lure the adventuresome and mango tango and Irish mint for those wanting something truly out of the ordinary. A big favorite among Fairfield University students, 16 Handles is a fast-in, fast-out kind of place, and while it lacks the charm of Sweet Claude’s and the Collins Creamery or the run-down edginess of Zack’s, 16 Handles is a grand place for those seeking a late-night indulgence.

Photo Credit: Froyo World

Froyo World
2100 Dixwell Ave
Hamden, CT 06514
(203) 891-5560

This frozen yogurt lounge has grown from one to four locations in Connecticut (Cheshire, Hamden, North Haven and Westport) and two in Massachusetts, (Franklin and Amherst, where it is a favorite for the five colleges in that little town). The menu is playful and ever changing. For example, May was Aloha month with flavors such as the banana islander, pina colada and blood orange. Billed as a healthier alternative to ice cream, the Froyo motto is “indulge yourself,” and with so many unique flavors and a long list of toppings to choose from, this bastion of the tart treat is thriving.

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Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience, most notably but not exclusively in the fields of international relations and history specifically military history. His work can be found at Examiner.com.