In Vermont, nothing says summer like a maple creemee. Yes, that’s “creemee.” Not “creamy.” OK, maybe “creamee.” But definitely not “soft-serve.” Given that Vermont’s dairy and maple syrup industries are both award-winning and nationally renowned, combining the two just makes sense. That double whammy is the maple creemee. Here are some reasons why we love this New England summer treat, and some places where you can find the best maple creemees in Vermont.
Ode to the Vermont Maple Creemee
Picture it: You’re sitting at a picnic table overlooking the Vermont countryside. A few cows wander nearby, the pasture fence only a few feet from where you lounge. In your hand, an ice cream cone from which rises a twirled caramel-hued delicacy that’s threatening to drip — or slip — over the edge at any moment. The maple creemee is a beautiful thing to behold. And it’s even more wonderful to eat.
What is a maple creemee?
Slightly creamier than soft-serve but with a lower milk-fat content than traditional hard ice cream, these sweet spirals can be found throughout Vermont at a number of shops, food trucks, farm stands, and creameries. While recipes vary, most places simply add (real!) maple syrup to an ice cream base. Hard-core creemee lovers will attest to the importance of using the highest-quality maple syrup. While simplicity defines these classic confections, some places do serve maple creemees sprinkled with maple sugar or drizzled with maple caramel, or in the form of an ice cream sandwich.
What is the history of the maple creemee?
The origins of the name “creemee” remain unclear. Seeing as Vermont sits so close to the Canadian border, some theorize that it was inspired by the Québécois term for ice cream, crême glacée. But perhaps the title simply arose after years of people describing the food’s delightful creaminess.Some claim that Rutland, Vermont, was the birthplace of the maple creemee. A letter to the editor published in the Rutland Herald some years back declared that the original idea for the maple creemee came from C. Blake Roy, markets inspector for the Vermont Department of Agriculture, who pitched it to the Rutland County Maple Producers in 1981 “as a new treat to be sold to thousands at the RCMP Rutland fairgrounds sugarhouse.” That said, like the delicacy itself, the backstory of the maple creemee remains mushy.
Where can I find a maple creemee?
Never tried this extra-creamy regional treat? Although for years it’s been rare to find one outside Vermont, maple creemee stands have begun to pop up in other New England states. Maine Maple Creemee Co., for instance, is a new food truck in Portland, Maine, that serves both maple and blueberry creemees. The next time you’re in the Green Mountain State, though, be sure to visit one of these spots listed below to taste some of the best maple creemees in Vermont — dare we say, the “creem” of the crop.
With retro vibes and a robust menu of fried food and ice cream, Al’s will make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time (and you likely won’t want to leave!). Yankee senior food editor Amy Traverso wrote about Al’s in 2014 — and we’re still as enthusiastic as ever.
This standout not only serves up classic maple creemees, but it’s also concocted something called the “Bad Larry,” which is described as a “vertical sundae” and comes topped with maple cotton candy and cookie crumbs. (Looking for something savory after all that sugar? The fried chicken here is killer.) Canteen Creemee appeared in our 2018 Travel Guide as one of our Editors’ Picks for Food Lovers.
One of the few southern Vermont spots on this list, Creemee Stand holds down the fort in Windham County. Located on Vermont’s scenic Route 100, this cash-only roadside stand has mastered the art of a classic maple creemee.
This family-owned business has been operating for eight generations in central Vermont. At the farm store in East Montpelier, you’ll find a smorgasbord of maple products, including an exceptional maple creemee.
With its sunny sign and yellow trim, Village Creemee Stand, practically screams summer. Almost every bit of space around the ordering window has been covered with handwritten signs and notes listing the many menu options. This place does creemees just right.
Who do you think makes the best maple creemee in Vermont?
This post was first published in 2019 and has been updated.