Maine-Made Ice Cream
First Maine put local dairy on the map with our cheese – now ice cream lovers throughout the state are rising to the challenge to make the best, freshest, homemade ice cream. Maine now boasts an abundance of special ice cream, from traditional to innovative. Whatever region of Maine you find yourself in – there is sure to be something creamy, cold and delicious nearby.
Let’s begin with Gifford’s – made with local dairy since 1980. What was once a single ice cream stand in Skowhegan is now five family stands and in stores everywhere. Their Waterville location has mini golf and batting cages, too. Gelato Fiasco created Italy’s favorite dessert here in Maine in 2007. With stores in Portland and Brunswick, and found in many grocery stores in Southern Maine, the gelato is easy to enjoy. Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream first opened in Bar Harbor and now has a Portland location, too – where they seek to elevate the classics. Smiling Hill Farm’s ice cream made from their own cows’ milk can be found at their Dairy Store in Westbrook (visit the Barnyard, too) and local grocery stores. Sweetcream Dairy has a new shop in Biddeford and you can snag a pint at a variety of local shops. With six locations from Bangor to Old Orchard Beach, you can find a Fielder’s Choice near you, with both hard and soft serve varieties! The Parlor Ice Cream Co. with flavors like Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp and Orange Blossom Creamsicle are offered in fine shops and restaurants. You can find Dear Dairy’s unbelievably unique flavor profiles at locations throughout Maine – fennel lemon or marzipan & jam anyone? Round Top Ice Cream in Damariscotta makes their own waffle cones with delightful flavors like lavender and pumpkin spice as well as over 50 flavors of ice cream. Pugnuts in Surry has gelato, sorbet, keto-friendly ice cream and creamy treats for pups as well.
Ice cream is the perfect summer treat which is why many of Maine’s amazing locally made ice cream shops are only open seasonally. Top hits include Bresca & The Honeybee found lakeside in New Gloucester, where James Beard award-nominated chef Krista Desjarlais creates unique and adventurous flavors, or Butterfield’s in Dover-Foxcroft, open since 1950, and don’t miss Houlton Farms Dairy Bar in Houlton, Presque Isle and Caribou. Kennebunkport’s Rococo artisan ice cream has creative flavors like Blueberry Chipotle and Vegan Blood Orange Raspberry & Candied Citron. Dorman’s Dairy Dream, in Thomaston since 1951, has seasonal flavors like strawberry in the summer and pumpkin with hot apple pie topping in the autumn and there is a multitude of ice cream food trucks to cater to your sweet tooth on the go.
Don’t miss Maine’s classic hard-serve frozen custard – a richer version of ice cream. Canty Cow in Turner makes rich custard from their award-winning milk, and Raymond’s Frozen Custard in Casco draws crowds all summer, too. Mainely Custard in Freeport serves up four classic flavors with specialty flavor releases throughout the summer.
These ice cream shops are just the tip of the ice cream cone, as it were. What is your favorite ice cream?