By Michael Aushenker | Contributing Writer
Let’s face it—no Palisadian will ever go deprived of dessert strolling down Santa Monica’s quaint Montana Avenue. After all, you’ve got ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt and Italian ice spots competing for your attention.
And now that Frozen Fruit Co. has come to town, you can enjoy a rich, decadent, ice cream-like dessert, minus the sugar, fat and many of the calories.
With its finite menu of fruit-based cones and cups plus accompanying toppings, Frozen Fruit Co. is the love child of young marrieds Michael and Victoria Philippou, and its back-story is quite fascinating.
Married since 2012, the couple, who both practiced corporate commercial law at the Simmons & Simmons firm in London, decided to quit their legal profession and become confectioners.
“We always knew LA was the place,” Michael Philippou said.
Only Victoria had visited Los Angeles prior to their business venture. The City of Angels was virgin territory to her new husband when they first came here to set up shop.
Inspired partially by the success of Pinkberry, which briefly made a presence in London, the couple decided to leave their old profession behind.
“Now is the time to do it,” Michael said, recalling that moment.
The couple applied for a work visa in 2015 and finally sewed things up by December 2015. While in England, they had researched how to create their confections while also dipping their toes into the gourmet dessert market by selling cups of Ben & Jerry’s.
“When we first came over, we didn’t know Montana Avenue,” Michael said. However, it’s this homey, albeit expensive, stretch of commercial Santa Monica upon which they hung their shingle.
“We found the Promenade too touristy,” he continued.
Having to commit a good $100,000 to their business, plus two flights back home before getting their permanent work visa, the couple finally launched Frozen Fruit Co. on July 2 with a soft opening.
They now commute from their Sherman Oaks home to run Frozen Fruit Co., where “everything is made onsite,” Michael said.
What’s pretty amazing about Frozen Fruit Co. product is that they are as healthy as they are tasty. Save perhaps for the cones they come in (cups are offered, too) and some of the more candy skewing of the toppings—which range from chocolate chips and sprinkles, to fruit and diced nuts, to syrups to edible orchids—there is nothing particularly unhealthy served here.
Billing itself as soft serve “just made from fruit,” Frozen Fruit Co. flavors have no preservatives involved and no gluten, dairy or sugar either. Small servings cost $4.95 (plus $3 a cone); medium, $6.50; large, $8. Toppings cost 50 cents a piece.
September’s core flavors total all of four. The constant is their biggest seller and (in my opinion) the best flavor: Coconut & Cacao, which contains coconut milk, cacao and dates. Raspberry & Orange blends the two titular fruit with apple and pear. Alphonso Mango includes mango, apple, pear and peach. Strawberry combines strawberries with apple, pear and peach.
If you’re wondering about the ample use of pear, it’s to sweeten their flavors while making them less tart. The latter three flavors—all delicious and on the mark, their quality ranking only wavering depending on your personal preference—will be swapped out in the coming months for new flavors, rotated on a monthly basis.
Michael’s favorite flavor, last month’s Pineapple and Passion Fruit, has been temporarily benched to allow for incoming flavors, such as the season-popular Pumpkin in October, followed by Mint Chocolate Chip toward Christmas and an upcoming flavor blending banana, coconut and vanilla.
It’s a whole new world for Frozen Fruit Co.’s affable, energetic young owners. If only they had identified their passion for dessert vending sooner in life and had avoided the costs of law school!