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Jul 19, 2013 12:17 PM

Favorite soft serve ice cream in Maine

Most of the ice cream discussions on this board revolve around "hard" ice cream, but I haven't seen a thread solely devoted to soft serve in Maine. Just wondering what your favorites are, and which spots are worthy of a detour.

So far, I've tried the soft serve at the following places:
-Red's Dairy Freeze in South Portland: their seasonal strawberry soft serve is fantastic.
-Dorman's Dairy Dream in Thomaston: good, but I preferred the hard ice cream.
-Round Top Ice Cream in Damariscotta: ditto.

Haven't visited the following soft serve shops, but have them on my "to try" list:
-Fielder's Choice in Sabattus and Manchester: this place reportedly serves outstanding soft serve (including flavors such as blueberry, maple, cake batter, and orange pineapple) and hard serve (including flavors such as baked Indian pudding). Seems to be a true under-the-radar gem.
-Dairy Frost in Brunswick: soft serve flavors include vanilla, chocolate, coffee, peanut butter, raspberry, and lemon.
-CJ's Big Dipper in Bar Harbor: people seem to love their blueberry soft serve - not sure if it's made with fresh berries a la Red's Dairy Freeze's strawberry soft serve.
-Beal's in Portland
-River Ducks Ice Cream in Camden

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    1. re: italianices

      And here's an article about several other ice cream shops in Maine:

      Several places were praised in the article for their soft serve:
      -grapenut soft serve at Houlton Farms Dairy in Houlton
      -black raspberry soft serve at Wahl's Dairy Port in Bucksport

      Also, Jordan's Snack Bar in Ellsworth (mentioned many times on this board) is supposed to have good soft serve.

      Any thoughts on these places?

      1. re: italianices

        Thanks for putting that link up. I don't try much soft serve because I know that most of it is from the same soft-serve-mix provider. It all began to taste the same after awhile except for maybe the strawberry at Red's (and the Coffee at North Street in Waterville....but who'd get softserve there when they make their own cookie dough?)

        I have never seen grapenut soft serve before and I'd think that the grapenut bits would clog the soft serve machine , but it sounds like I'll have to make the trek.

      2. re: italianices

        Tried Fielder's Choice recently, and thought their hard serve was decent and their strawberry soft serve very artificial tasting. Definitely not a destination spot, but ok for those who live in the immediate area.

        Also tried the black raspberry soft serve at Wahl's Dairy Port in Bucksport, which was ok but nothing special. I was a bit disappointed that they just use flavoring rather than actual berries.

      3. Another place that looks interesting is Udder Heaven Ice Cream Retreat in Bar Harbor.

        From what I've researched, though, the homemade blueberry soft serve at CJ's Big Dipper seems to be the most raved about soft serve flavor in Bar Harbor. Hopefully they use wild Maine (lowbush) blueberries in their version.

        I wonder why Red's Dairy Freeze in South Portland doesn't make blueberry soft serve? Their strawberry version is superb.

        Also, there's a place in New Gloucester called Hodgman's Frozen Custard that's supposed to be excellent. I know frozen custard is different from soft serve, but I think it still deserves a mention here. Apparently, they make a strawberry frozen custard with fresh local berries around the 4th of July - too bad I missed it this year:

        1. Two more places to add to the list:

          -Quietside Cafe & Ice Cream Shop in Southwest Harbor, Mt. Desert Island:
          I actually didn't try their soft serve when I visited this eatery during a previous trip to MDI, but I did have a slice of their famed wild blueberry pie, which was huge and excellent.

          -Bagaduce Lunch in Brooksville/Penobscot on the Blue Hill Peninsula:
          According to their Facebook page, they started serving soft serve ice cream this summer, with flavors changing every couple of days. Scrolling through their FB page just now, some of the flavors they've offered over the past couple of months include chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, blueberry, peach, pistachio, peanut butter, and butterscotch.