Gifford’s Gift — Thirty years ago, Randall and Audrey Gifford and their children, Arland, Roger, Donna and John, started making super-rich, creamy ice cream and selling it at a stand in their hometown of Skowhegan. Now, Gifford’s Ice Cream operates five ice cream stands, sells its products in stores all over the state, and produces more than 40 flavors of ice cream and frozen yogurt. Last year, Gifford’s chocolate ice cream was named the world’s best at the 2009 World Dairy Expo, and this April the award-winning flavor will be featured on an episode of the Food Network’s program “Unwrapped.” To celebrate the ice cream company’s 30th anniversary, Gifford’s will again follow its longtime tradition and offer free ice cream cones 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 19, opening day at its stands. Stands are located in Skowhegan, Auburn, Waterville, Farmington and Bangor. For information, visit www.giffordsicecream.com. On a personal note: Please, please, please bring back whoopie pie ice cream.
Celebrating Syrup — Sugar pie, honey bunch — you know that I love you. Especially on French toast. The sweetest thing Maine has to offer, maple syrup, will be celebrated again this year with the University of Maine at Fort Kent’s annual Sucrerie, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, March 18, at Nowland Hall on the UMFK campus. The event features a traditional maple taffy pull on the snow, maple syrup tasting, an Acadian meal and live entertainment. The taffy pull and tasting are free; the meal is $8. Also set for next week is the annual Governor’s Tree Tapping, 10:30 a.m. Monday, March 15, at the Blaine House. For information, visit www.mainemapleproducers.com or call UMFK at 834-7557.
An annual “delite” — As of the writing of this column, I, your humble journalist, am intermittently staring, longingly, at the two boxes of Girl Scout Cookies sitting on my desk. Thin Mints and Caramel Delites, to be exact. It’s that time of year again, when crafty Girl Scouts ensnare hapless customers with their irresistibly deli-cious baked treats. In addition to the newest Girl Scout Cookie, the cranberry and white chocolate chip cookie Thank U Berry Munch, the Girl Scouts have launched a poll at www.girlscoutcookies.org to try to figure out, once and for all, what everyone’s favorite cookie really is. On Tuesday, March 9, the runaway winner was Caramel Delites, or Samoas, with 35 percent of the vote, followed closely by Thin Mints with 26 percent of the vote. Behind those were Tagalongs, with 15 percent, and Do-Si-Dos with 6 percent. The least popular cookie? The lowly Daisy-Go-Round, the reduced fat, crunchy cinnamon cookie. Apparently, there’s a time and a place for reduced-fat, healthful options, and Girl Scout Cookie time is not one of those times.