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Thursday, Aug 18, 2022

The Inside Scoop on Vermont Creemees

<span class="photocreditinline">Campus File Photo/ Nora Peachin</span><br />A tasty treat, and a creemee.
Campus File Photo/ Nora Peachin
A tasty treat, and a creemee.

 It’s finally warm out, and for Vermonters, that means it’s creemee season. To those unfamiliar with the iconic frozen treat, a creemee is just soft-serve ice cream but with a fun Vermont nickname.

Early May is opening season for many creemee stands. As an ice cream aficionado, I decided to celebrate this momentous time by attempting to visit as many stands as possible in one weekend.

On Saturday, I drove up to Vergennes in the hopes of kicking off my adventure with The Main Scoop, only to find it closed. The store’s Facebook page promises it will be open for business this Friday, May 10. Despite this early disappointment, I was determined to satisfy my creemee craving.

Following a friend’s recommendation, I continued up to North Ferrisburgh to investigate Vermont Cookie Love. The Love Shack is a small shop right off of Route 7 with a parking lot and benches right outside. Cookie Love sells not only creemees and hard ice cream but also freshly baked cookies, as its name suggests. 

Campus File Photo/ Nora Peachin
The maple creemee; a classic Vermont frozen treat.

As I purchased the desserts, the very friendly cashier recounted that the family-owned business began 10 years ago at the Shelburne Farmers Market. Their website explains that owner Paul Seyler and his family moved to Ferrisburgh from New York City in 2007 and started selling cookies and cookie dough right away.

Cookie Love’s creemees are produced by Kingdom Creamery in the Northeast Kingdom. A friend and I shared a small maple creemee into which we  dipped chunks of warm cookie. The addition of the cookie was a game changer, to say the least.

The stand and the owner’s story were compelling; the slightly awkward destination right on the side of the highway, less so. But overall, Cookie Love served up a tasty creemee.

Next, I brought it a little closer to home with Burnham Maple Farm and Market, only a few minutes’ drive from campus. A wooden, creemee-shaped sign greets you as you drive up, reading “Pure Vermont Maple Creemies.” The grass in front of the quaint red building is covered in lawn chairs of all sizes and colors.

Burnham is open year-round, selling all sorts of sweet maple treats and other local products. The store began its creemee season early, opening on April 4.

The owner explained that the business has been producing their own maple syrup and frozen maple treats for five years now. Perhaps it was the history, but the Burnham maple creemee seemed to have a deeper, more intense maple flavor than all the others I tried. There was also something so quintessentially Vermont about sitting in an Adirondack chair, licking away at a maple creemee.

Third on my list was the Village Creeme, a Bristol favorite. This establishment was perhaps the most aesthetically charming, with its white and yellow awning, big yellow sign and picnic tables.

The Village Creeme opened for the summer this Monday, May 6 and people flocked to the stand to celebrate. Families and couples waited in line to purchase not only creemees but also mac and cheese bites, burgers and more.

The portions were generous and the atmosphere welcoming at the bustling Bristol business.

Campus File Photo/ Nora Peachin
Creemee and cookie; a famous combo at Cookie Love.

For my final stop, I pulled up to Shafer’s Market in downtown Middlebury. Like the Village Creeme, there was a long line at the ice cream window. When it was finally my turn to place my order, I was told that the maple creemees were too soft to put into a cone.

Personally, I think half the fun of a creemee is eating it out of a cone, so I went with chocolate instead. Although I was disappointed by the maple issue, Shafer’s certainly offered the most bang for my buck. And, sitting on the outdoor benches, people-watching, creemee in hand, is an unbeatable, classic Middlebury experience.

I would return to all the soft-serve joints I visited, but I most enjoyed Burnham Maple Farm and Market. It was the only location that made the creemees on-site from scratch, and this was evident in the creemee’s flavor. 

Ultimately, summer in Vermont is not complete without tasting at least one of these frozen dairy treats — although perhaps not four in one weekend. I’m not sure I can, in good conscience, advise that to anyone else. But there is certainly something special about sitting out in the warm sun, savoring some icy cold creemees with your friends.