PORTLAND, Maine — Whew, it’s yet another sweltering, steamy day out there in a summer that’s had more than its fair share of them. You’re going to need extra napkins for that fast-melting ice cream cone in your hand. Don’t be a slowpoke.
Thanks, global warming.
Hold on. Before you head straight to the comments section, take a gander at this list of five frozen treat establishments in downtown Portland. They’ve all got sweet ways to beat the heat.
Beal’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, 12 Moulton St.
Stuffed into a tiny, basement shop at the intersection of Moulton and Wharf Streets, Beal’s is the real deal. They make small batch ice cream in a dizzying array of 100 flavors. Just look for the crowd of tourists frantically licking their cones on the corner and you’ll know you’re in the right place.
The Malia family bought the tasty business, and original recipes, from founder Roy Beal back in 1988. Since then, they have expanded their locations and offerings. You can also find Beal’s on Route 25 in Gorham and on Veranda Street in Portland.
Mount Desert Island Ice Cream, 51 Exchange St.
You might think it odd to find an ice cream shop named after an island a couple hundred miles away from Portland but, according to its website, Mount Desert Island Ice Cream even has a location in Nagano, Japan.
Mount Desert Island Ice Cream also has two shops in Bar Harbor, where it was founded in 2005. The Portland location opened in 2010.
According to the website, the shop makes its icy delights in five gallon-batches, from Maine milk and cream. To boot, the shop makes nearly everything by hand — including cutting vanilla pods, squeezing lemons, de-seeding blueberries and peeling bananas.
Captain Sam’s Ice Cream, 136 Commercial St.
This one is hard to miss. Aside from the line of customers snaking down the sidewalk, you’ll see a four-foot, hungry looking, ice-cream-toting alligator statue just outside Captain Sam’s.
The gator’s name is Rufus, by the way. His picture is on all the cups. Capt. Sam is the pirate-looking guy on the sign.
Aside from ice cream cones and sundaes, Rufus and the Captain offer frozen, chocolate-dipped bananas on a stick, frappes, floats and non-frozen sweets, as well.
Sticky Sweet, 119 Cumberland Ave.
This walk-up window business makes plant-based, vegan, gluten-free, frozen delights with no artificial ingredients or refined sugars. Without dairy, it’s not quite ice cream but don’t let that scare you off.
Instead of cow juice, founders — and sisters — Ashley and Kelley Dow use a blend of coconut and cashew milks. They sweeten their frigid concoctions with dates, coconut sugar and Maine maple syrup. The Dows make their gluten-free cones in house, as well.
As a bonus, because there’s no dairy, it’s all totally cholesterol free.
Gorgeous Gelato, 434 Fore St.
As the name suggests, Gorgeous Gelato doesn’t sell ice cream. Instead, it sells gelato, ice cream’s softer, more flavor-intense Italian cousin.
Operated by father-daughter duo Donato Giovine and Mariagrazia Zanardi from Milan, Gorgeous Gelato opened a decade ago. It’s website states its chilly treats contain 70 percent less fat than regular ice cream and has fewer calories.
That point might be moot if you eat as much as your tastebuds want, with flavors including pistachio, Vanilla, wild berry, tiramisu and stracciatella.
But wait, there’s more
If you’re venturing off the peninsula, you can also hit Sammy’s Scoops on Ocean Avenue, Lib’s Dairy Treats on Auburn Street or Red’s Dairy Freeze on Cottage Road in South Portland.