What is a Creemee?
That’s what I wanted to know when I moved here from New York many years ago. Creemee? Two E’s followed by… two more E’s? People kept referring to them as creemees, more than one person. So it can’t just be one weird person’s nickname for a soft serv ice cream cone, it must be a regional thing. Vermont does two things and two things only: Maple and dairy… and hippies. Okay three things, maple, dairy and hippies… and liberal arts students. Also hiking, and boating, and dressing plainly, and obsessive localvore’ing, and… well you see where I’m going with this. So yeah, dairy, ice cream, Ben and friggin’ Jerry, but why call it creemee? Can’t you just say ice cream?
So I asked around, asking if that was just a cutesy folksy Vermont way to describe garden variety soft serv, and apparently it’s its own thing. Creemees are soft serve ice cream (usually in a cone, or if you prefer a dish that’s fine too, if you’re basic) with a higher than average fat content than regular soft serv, usually between 5 and 12 grams of fat per serving. This gives it that softer, silkier mouth feel and the sort of deliciousness that only fattening foods can provide, and it varies depending on where you get it. A guy in our scooter club drives a delivery truck of dairy product, and we would always make excursions to the places he knew of that bought the most premium of dairy product for making their creemees. Yep, we had the inside scoop (get it?) on where to get the best ice cream in Vermont.
It’s hard to understand how a state with temperatures at or below freezing for nearly half the year is so into ice cream. I’m talking -really- into ice cream, creemees in particular, and no, neither Ben nor Jerry make a line of creemee product, which seems like a lost opportunity but then what do I know? Ben and Jerry’s is now owned by the massive British conglomerate Unilever, so I’m pretty sure the Vermont area creemee crazy doesn’t really reach their great big oak-tabled board meetings. Still you are hard-pressed to go more than a mile without seeing a place where you can stand in line in front of a sliding glass window and ask for a creemee. Go to get a sandwich at Burlington Bay Market and there’s a Creemee window. Get a burger at Al’s French Fries and there’s a Creemee window. Get a couple trout fillets at Ray’s Seafood, get a slice from Rocky’s Pizza, or just fill your tank at Maplefield’s or Cumberland Farms, there’s a Creemee window. Travel down any rural highway and there will be a small shack or trailer with a window with a big sign reading “Creemees.” You can’t go broke selling ice cream cones in Vermont.
Two things I look forward to when a new summer motorcycling season comes up, is Michigans at Claire and Carls (no apostrophe), or a maple creemee at… well anywhere. Maple creemees, of course, because Vermont does two things: map… we’ve done this already, haven’t we? Try one yourself, if you’re in the area. My recommendations include…
Morse Maple Sugarworks, Montpelier
Seb’s, Grand Isle
Burlington Bay Market, Burlington
Charlotte Berry Farm, Charlotte
Village Creemee Stand, Bristol
Vermont Cookie Love, Ferrisburgh
The Village Scoop, Colchester
Canteen Creemee Company, Waitsfield