Maine’s Busiest Ice Cream Shop Shares ‘How To Taste Ice Cream Like A Pro.’
In this corner, weighing in at one monumental scoop, approximately 7 inches high, and sugar cone with added spill-over cup; a kiddie cone on steroids: The Tornado.
A mound of sweet vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip and Hydrox cookies, Heath Bar pieces, and m&ms.
Only a serious ice cream eater would dare tackle this kitchen sink of frozen treats.
And in this corner, weighing in at 51 pounds, 48 inches high: My five-year old son. Salivating from the mouth, bugged-out eyes, fingers crawling with anticipation at the upcoming face-off. All senses on stand-by….
Our story begins back in 1967, when a man named Byron Brown opened Brown’s Ice Cream, a 350 square foot tar papered ice cream shanty along the rocky coast of Maine. With the lure of Nubble Lighthouse’s red beacon, lighthouse lovers, summer tourists and locals flocked to this shack built on rocky ledge where 28 distinctive flavors of homemade ice cream were scooped for over 24 years.
In 1991 Steve Dunne took over the operation and brought with him his knowledge of The Great American Dessert and its conical sister, the cone. A graduate of Penn State’s Ice Cream Short Course, the nation’s oldest and largest educational program focusing on the science and technology of ice cream, Steve joined the ranks with other notable alumnae as Ben and Jerry, and learned the ins and outs of ice cream manufacturing; making Brown’s the busiest ice cream shop in the state of Maine.
Serving at least 50 unique flavors to over 2000 lickers each day, Steve reveals that with competition like Smurf, Maine Survivor, and Razzle Dazzle, Vanilla is still their most popular flavor, followed by their Cookie Dough (with its tablespoon-sized gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough!).
According to Dunne, good ice cream starts with a good base. “Since this is what you are building the ice cream flavor up on, it needs to be of the highest quality.”
Dunne suggests you taste ice cream like you are tasting wine.
“Let it rest in your mouth and melt over your tongue. Just as in wine tasting, you should pay attention to its look, smell, taste and texture.”
One of the more important factors in determining ice cream texture is its butter fat content. A low percentage of butter fat, and the ice cream can feel icy or gritty, like sorbet. Whereas, too much can make you feel like you are licking a Vaseline popsicle, leaving a greasy-like residue on the roof of your mouth.
In doing the necessary “research” for this article, I found out that Brown’s premium ice cream contains 13-14% butter fat. My afternoon treat was very enjoyable. The Maine Sea Salt Caramel Truffle ice cream was not too smooth (like yogurt) or hard (like an ice-cube), but held a balanced creamy texture with enough ooey-gooey milk chocolate caramel-filled cups for each bite. Wait. Now I’m not so sure….I think may need a another scoop – for research purposes only, of course.
Brown’s Ice Cream is located at 232 Nubble Road in York, Maine. They are open from May 1 through mid-October from 12pm-8pm, 12pm-10pm in July and August. Call 207-363-1277 for more information. The moral of this story is: Don’t get licked by mediocre ice cream. Wear your messy ice cream-dabbed nose proudly and always leave room for “more research”.
Oh by the way….Although a messy battle, Tornado didn’t stand a chance against my five-year old.
For more of Becky’s adventures please visit www.innkeepersdaughters.com
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