Portland, Maine, a charming coastal city known for its rich history and picturesque landscapes, is also home to some of the most delicious ice cream you’ll ever taste. As a seasoned food writer and ice cream enthusiast, I’ve scoured the city to bring you the ultimate guide to the best ice cream in Portland, Maine. So, whether you’re a local or just passing through, let’s dive into the world of delightful frozen treats that await you in this enchanting city.
The Top Ice Cream Shops in Portland, Maine
- Mount Desert Island Ice Cream
Consistently rated as one of the best ice cream shops in the city, Mount Desert Island Ice Cream is a must-visit destination for any ice cream lover. Known for their creative flavors and use of locally-sourced ingredients, this artisanal ice creamery offers a unique experience with every scoop. Don’t miss their signature flavors like Blueberry Lavender, Whiskey Caramel, and The Dude (inspired by The Big Lebowski).
- Gorgeous Gelato
If you’re craving authentic Italian gelato, look no further than Gorgeous Gelato. Handcrafted daily in small batches, their gelato is made using traditional Italian techniques and the finest ingredients. With a rotating menu of flavors that include Stracciatella, Pistachio, and Tiramisu, there’s always something new and exciting to try.
- Catbird Creamery
Catbird Creamery is a cozy, locally-owned ice cream shop that prides itself on crafting small-batch, artisanal ice cream using only the highest-quality ingredients. With a wide variety of flavors that cater to both traditional and adventurous palates, Catbird Creamery is a must-visit destination. Be sure to try their Wild Maine Blueberry, Honey Lavender, or the popular Salted Caramel Brownie.
Discover the Most Unique Ice Cream Flavors in Portland
Portland’s ice cream scene is known for its creativity and innovation. Here are some of the most unique flavors you’ll find at these exceptional shops:
- Cardamom Rosewater at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream
This fragrant and delicately spiced flavor is a true delight for the senses. The combination of aromatic cardamom and subtle rosewater creates a beautiful balance of flavors that is both exotic and comforting.
- Olive Oil and Sea Salt at Gorgeous Gelato
This daring and unconventional flavor combination is a must-try for any foodie. The fruity notes of the olive oil blend perfectly with the delicate sea salt, creating a surprisingly harmonious and addictive treat.
- Sweet Corn and Blueberry at Catbird Creamery
This seasonal flavor is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The combination of sweet corn and tangy blueberries is both refreshing and satisfying, making it the perfect summer treat.
Ice Cream Cake Portland, Maine
Ice cream cakes are the perfect way to celebrate any special occasion, and Portland is home to several shops that offer delectable ice cream cakes to suit any taste. Here are some of the top spots to find ice cream cakes in Portland, Maine:
- Beal’s Ice Cream
Beal’s Ice Cream, a beloved local institution, offers customizable ice cream cakes made with their delicious homemade ice cream. Choose from a wide range of flavors and mix-ins to create the perfect cake for your celebration.
- Ben & Jerry’s
This popular chain is known for its wide variety of unique ice cream flavors, and their ice cream cakes are no exception. Ben & Jerry’s in Portland offers pre-made ice cream cakes as well as custom options, so you can design a cake with your favorite flavors and toppings.
- Dairy Queen
For those who prefer a classic ice cream cake, Dairy Queen in Portland has you covered. Their iconic ice cream cakes are made with layers of vanilla and chocolate soft-serve ice cream, separated by a delicious fudge and cookie crumb filling.
Ice Cream South Portland, Maine
Just across the Casco Bay Bridge from Portland, the city of South Portland offers its own selection of fantastic ice cream shops for you to explore. Here are a few noteworthy spots for ice cream lovers in South Portland:
- Red’s Dairy Freeze
A local favorite since 1952, Red’s Dairy Freeze is a nostalgic, family-owned ice cream stand known for its soft-serve ice cream and classic flavors. Be sure to try their famous creemees, which are a deliciously smooth and creamy soft-serve treat.
- Scratch Baking Co.
While Scratch Baking Co. is primarily known for its artisanal bread and pastries, they also serve a selection of locally-made ice cream from Rococo Artisan Ice Cream. This is a great spot to enjoy a scoop of some of Maine’s finest ice cream while taking in the charming atmosphere of South Portland.
- Willard Scoops
Located near the picturesque Willard Beach, Willard Scoops is a must-visit ice cream shop in South Portland. They offer a variety of homemade ice cream flavors, as well as sorbets and frozen yogurt. After enjoying a scoop, take a leisurely walk along the beach and soak in the beautiful coastal views.
In both Portland and South Portland, Maine, you’ll find a diverse and delicious ice cream scene that caters to every preference and palate. From ice cream cakes to unique flavors and charming ice cream stands, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this ice cream lover’s paradise. So, whether you’re a local or just visiting, make sure to indulge in these delectable frozen treats and create lasting memories in this beautiful coastal region.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What makes the ice cream in Portland, Maine so special?
A: Portland’s ice cream scene is characterized by its commitment to high-quality ingredients, creativity, and artisanal craftsmanship. Many shops source their ingredients locally, which contributes to the unique and delicious flavors found in the city.
Q: Are there any vegan or dairy-free options available?
A: Absolutely! Many of Portland’s ice cream shops offer vegan and dairy-free options, such as sorbets and coconut milk-based ice creams.
Q: What is the best time of year to enjoy ice cream in Portland, Maine?
A: While ice cream is a popular treat all year round, the summer months are the prime time to enjoy the best ice cream in Portland. With warm temperatures and plenty of seasonal flavors, there’s no better time to explore the city’s ice cream scene.
Insider Tips for Enjoying the Best Ice Cream in Portland, Maine
- Visit during off-peak hours: To avoid long lines and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere, try visiting these popular ice cream shops during off-peak hours, such as weekdays or early evenings.
- Ask for samples: With so many unique and intriguing flavors, it can be difficult to choose just one! Don’t be afraid to ask for a sample or two before committing to a full scoop.
- Bring a friend: One of the best ways to experience the full range of flavors Portland has to offer is to visit these ice cream shops with a friend or family member. Share scoops or order different flavors to taste even more of what each shop has to offer.
- Take your treat to-go: Many of Portland’s picturesque parks, waterfront areas, and historic neighborhoods are just a short walk away from these ice cream shops. Grab a scoop or two and take a leisurely stroll while enjoying your delicious treat.
With its rich and diverse ice cream scene, Portland, Maine is truly a paradise for ice cream lovers. From traditional favorites to innovative and unexpected flavor combinations, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, the next time you find yourself in Portland, be sure to indulge your senses and treat yourself to some of the most delicious and satisfying ice cream the city has to offer. And, remember to share your ice cream adventures with us by using the hashtag #BestIceCreamPortland on social media!