It’s the absolute unfettered state and pristine condition of this frozen desserts store that strikes me – that and the cute pink and white cow that seems to be floating in glee right above the store’s signage.
She’s called Lulubelle, she with the enviably long eyelashes, impish smile, and darling little wings. As Isabel Celdran, co-owner of Lulubelle states, “We chose ‘belle’ because of the cow ‘bell’ and we thought she looked like a ‘Lulu.’ [And] we gave her wings because we wanted her to look like she was in heaven and lovin’ it.” The store’s tagline is, after all, “Healthy and Heavenly.”
Lulubelle is a store for the frozen dessert aficionado. Of course they offer the dessert-of-the-moment – frozen yogurt – but it’s not exclusively devoted to it. An expansive array of toppings is vibrant in their variety, ready to crown scoops of ice cream, swirls of frozen yogurt, or to blitz into a personalized smoothie. Here, owners Joji Yujuico, Yoli Celdran, and Isabel Celdran decided to make creating a frozen dessert more interactive and enjoyable.
The signboard guides customers to choose a Base (ice cream or yogurt), the Serving (cup or blended into a Smoothie) and the Toppings (pick your pleasure from the display counter). “It’s about engaging people to create their own frozen dessert,” Isabel avers. “We decided not to put ‘frozen yogurt’ in the [store’s] name because we didn’t want to limit ourselves. Lulubelle is a frozen dessert place where the frozen yogurt is the main product.”
There are two types of frozen yogurt available here: natural, which is the same one served at Lulubelle’s sister company, The Ice Cream Bar (Flavors by FIC), and tart. “The natural is the slightly sweeter one like an ice cream, so that it also appeals to children, and the tart has that tang characteristic of yogurt. It’s mixed with fruit.” Yoli tells me. To illustrate, if I ask for the natural yogurt (as seen on signboard), I’ll get the typical white frozen yogurt softserve (slightly sweet, but with enough tang and rich body to remind me that it’s frozen yogurt and not ice cream). If I ask for flavored, I’ll get the pink and white serving seen above, (tarter than the natural, its tang lingers along with a pleasant berry aftertaste). As for the sugar-free, that’s coming soon, but it will primarily be regular, unflavored frozen yogurt.
From the options offered, it’s almost impossible to count just how many frozen desserts I can create here. Like a mad scientist, I’m already dreaming of mixing queso (cheese) ice cream with yogurt to make one (funky) smoothie, pairing black sesame ice cream with a granola-nut-banana topping, or what about a natural frozen yogurt cup sprinkled with malt balls?
Lest anyone start thinking that Lulubelle is yet another player in the frozen yogurt go-round going on in Manila, Yoli clarifies that (mother company) FIC (Fruits in Ice Cream) has been working on this product for the past two years. “We also had to wait for the right vehicle to launch this product. We came out with our own flavor without having to think if it was the same as the others, and it was only after [we had it] that we started to taste what was available.”
This is a mango sorbet smoothie – “It’s my favorite!” Yoli says excitedly – it has a very distinct yogurt-y taste and tang and it’s so creamy that I can almost fool myself into thinking that I’m drinking a mango milkshake. What you see on the cover photo of this post is a calamansi sorbet smoothie. It has no ice cream – only frozen yogurt — so it’s more fluid and refreshing than say, an ice cream smoothie. It’s cold enough to give me brain freeze but tangy enough to jolt me out of it. No wonder Lulubelle has wings. Healthy and Heavenly indeed.
R3 “Playground” (near the chapel, on the opposite end of Fully Booked)
Power Plant Mall, Rockwell