I just returned from Maine and have a lot to share, as always, about that food paradise of a state (we’ve been going there on summer vacation for seven years, but I still always discover new and amazing things to do and eat). Until I get those posts up and running though, I wanted to share photos of my other favorite summer pastime: Eating ice cream.
So far this summer I have three favorite ice cream shops/parlors/stands, which is not to say that I don’t plan on visiting several more before the first frost.
First up is:
THE BENT SPOON in Princeton, NJ
Of the three ice cream destinations I’m featuring today, this is the most grassrootsy, farm-to-tabley (or as they say, “farm-to-spoon”), with creative and seasonal flavors being what sets them apart. I keep going back for one flavor in particular: sweet New Jersey basil. I swear, it’s amazingânot at all like you’re eating frozen pesto in a coneâjust sweet, herbal, and addictive. Bent Spoon was also featured along with KEEPERS in the latest issue of Edible Jersey, which was a thrill for me (I’m hoping it buys me an extra punch on my frequent purchase cone card, but we’ll see).
Dorman’s is an old-fashioned roadside stand on Rte. 1 in Maine, just outside of Rockland on the mid-coast, that makes homemade ice cream; which is an important distinction because I’ve learned that many ice cream places customize a pre-made base with their own flavors and add-ins, but don’t actually make the ice cream itself. Unlike Bent Spoon, the flavors at Dorman’s are old schoolâyou will not see a bourbon-beets-marscapone sundae on the menuâwith the exception of Grape Nut, something I only ever see in New England (who in the world thought of making a flavor out of a health breakfast cereal, I’d like to know).Â Dorman’s also makes their own hot fudge which is so good it should be illegal.
ARETHUSA FARM DAIRY in Bantam, Connecticut
The ice cream from Arethusa Dairyâ located in bucolic Litchfield Countyâ is so authentic and heirloom-quality, it makes Haagen-Dazs taste like Dairy Queen (no offense to you, Dairy Queen, your chocolate shell dipped soft serve is magical). Created with milk from beloved pure bred cows, who are literally massaged and fawned over on a daily basis (don’t believe me? read THIS piece about the dairy and its fashion-world founders), the proof is in the product: Extremely rich and delicious ice cream in only the most traditional flavors: strawberry, vanilla, coffee (amazing), and the occasional seasonal offering like peach and sour cherry with dark chocolate chips (see above). Arethusa is located a bit off the beaten pathh, but the beautiful shop (where you can also buy the dairy’s milk products) is worth the detour over hill and dale. Did I mention that they make their own waffle cones? Hot, fresh, waffles, cooked and folded into cones right before your eyes…run don’t walk.